An appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the Department of Justice is legally permitted to punish "sanctuary cities" by withholding federal grants from them, a major victory for the Trump administration in its fight to institute hardline immigration policies.
Numerous municipalities and local communities have adopted the "sanctuary" label in recent years to signify that they are open to illegal immigrant residents and that they will cooperate as little as possible with federal immigration authorities. The Trump administration had sought to deny these cities federal grant money if they refuse to work with federal immigration officials.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this practice was acceptable, with one judge writing for a three-judge panel:
"There is something disquieting in the idea of states and localities seeking federal funds to enforce their own laws while themselves hampering the enforcement of federal laws, or worse, violating those laws."
Though the Justice Department claimed victory over the ruling, a number of the cities from which the administration seeks to withhold funds are covered under appeals courts that have ruled differently on the issue. The matter may eventually proceed to the Supreme Court for ultimate arbitration.