Judge rules against Trump administration in sanctuary cities case

Friday, November 30, 2018

A federal judge in New York ruled Friday that the Trump administration cannot withhold public safety grants to six states and the City of New York based on the fact that they're so-called sanctuary cities.

"Consistent with every other court that has considered these issues, the court concludes that defendants did not have lawful authority to impose these conditions," the decision said.

The city, six states - New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia - and the District of Columbia sued the administration over the threats to withhold money for criminal justice programs under what's known as the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, named for a New York City cop killed in the line of duty.

"The courts have spoken: President Trump's attempt to bully our city into enforcing his draconian immigration policies is unconstitutional," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Unlike Trump's fact-free claims to the contrary, by welcoming immigrant communities we have helped make this the safest big city in the country. This is a great victory, and we will never stop fighting on behalf of immigrant New Yorkers."

The Justice Department attempted to put immigration-related conditions on the grants, which total in the millions.

The states said it was a matter of separation of powers and challenged the administration's authority to compel them to adopt President Trump's preferred immigration policies.

The judge cited the administration's "lack of authority to impose the three conditions on federal funding" and noted "the separation of powers acts as a check on tyranny and the concentration of power."

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood called the decision a "major win for New Yorkers' public safety."

"This decision requires the Trump administration to distribute these vital public safety funds - helping to ensure that our local law enforcement agencies are able to continue to determine how best to keep New Yorkers safe," she said.

Added New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, "In New York, we will always stand up for the values that built this state and this nation and fight any effort to spread hate and division."

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