By Deanna Paul
A federal appeals court said the Trump administration can withhold funds from New York City and seven states that have declared themselves sanctuaries from federal immigration policies, setting the stage for possible U.S. Supreme Court action.
Wednesday's decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said President Trump acted within his authority when he signed an executive order in January 2017 to withhold federal funds from states that resisted helping federal efforts to enforce immigration laws.
The 2nd Circuit overturned a lower court's 2018 order requiring Mr. Trump to release federal funds to New York City and seven states -- New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island.
The city and states had sued the Trump administration, arguing the funds were withheld for political purposes. Local law-enforcement officials have said cooperating with federal immigration agencies would discourage immigrants from reporting crimes and cooperating with investigations.
The 2nd Circuit's decision conflicts with rulings on the same issue rendered by three other federal appeals courts, potentially leaving it to the Supreme Court to ultimately decide.
The ruling is the latest move in a yearslong battle between the Trump administration and the sanctuary jurisdictions.
The Justice Department has previously said it can impose conditions on local jurisdictions that receive federal grants, including receiving access to illegal immigrants housed in prisons and jails and notice of their release date.
"These conditions help the federal government enforce national immigration laws and policies supported by successive Democratic and Republican administrations," the 77-page decision authored by Judge Reena Raggi said.
A spokesman for the Justice Department called the ruling a "major victory for Americans."
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 26, 2020 13:27 ET (18:27 GMT)
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