Harper Neidig, The Hill, February 26, 2020
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that the Department of Justice (DOJ) could withhold funding from cities and states that refuse to cooperate with the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
A three-judge panel on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned a district court judge’s ruling that the department lacked the authority to impose immigration-related conditions on certain funding.
A group of seven states and New York City sued the DOJ in 2017 after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the agency would start withholding funding from local governments that refused to share information about undocumented immigrants or provide jail access to federal authorities investigating inmates’ immigration status.
The states challenging the policy are New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts and Virginia.
“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” Sessions said at the time. “These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law.”
The states’ lawsuit argued that the attorney general’s coercion was unconstitutional.