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US judge rules against Trump push to cut funding for ‘sanctuary cities’

US judge rules against Trump push to cut funding for ‘sanctuary cities’

US judge rules against Trump push to cut funding for ‘sanctuary cities’
December 01
12:57 2018

A US federal judge has ruled that the administration of President Donald Trump cannot withhold government grants from so-called sanctuary cities over their immigration policies, the latest of several similar rulings around the country.

US District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled against the US Justice Department on Friday in a lawsuit filed by six states and New York City, which argued withholding federal funds violated constitutional limits on the administration’s authority over spending decisions and on federal power over states.

The decision involves the states of Washington, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia, as well as the state and city of New York. It follows similar opinions by federal courts in California, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

However, there is no nationwide court ruling — at least for now — on whether the federal government can block states, cities and counties from receiving a longtime public safety grant if they limit their cooperation with immigration officials.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood called the decision “a major win.”

“The Trump administration’s attempt to withhold these vital funds was nothing more than a political attack at the expense of our public safety,” Underwood, a Democrat, said in a statement.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Trump had been trying “to bully our city into enforcing his Draconian immigration policies.”

Trump, a Republican, has emphasized cracking down on illegal immigration and often casts it as a public safety threat.

Shortly after taking office last year, he issued an order barring federal grants to “sanctuary” cities in many circumstances.

Trump ordered the Justice Department to set new conditions on a grant program that dates back years.

The new requirements included telling federal agents when immigrants in the country illegally are getting out of custody and letting agents question inmates about their immigration status.

The local governments also had to agree not to set limitations on giving immigration officials citizenship information about anyone.

But targeted states and cities said that turning police departments into de facto immigration agents discourages immigrants from reporting crimes or aiding investigations.

Trump has made his hard-line stance on immigration an integral part of his presidency.

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