In a late Friday decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Department of Justice can prioritize federal funding to cities that aid fighting illegal immigration, while denying grants to those that don’t.
In a three judge panel decision, Judges Sandra Ikuta and Jay Bybee voted 2-1 to overturn a circuit court decision, citing the Administrative Procedure Act, which allows the Attorney General to allocate federal funding based on competitive factors. The City of Los Angeles argued that allocating funds to support a specific administrative goal violated the U.S. Constitution’s Spending Clause, since the DOJ was awarding more points to cities that adopted policies to combat illegal immigration.
The majority opinion also stated that since the DOJ used grant allocations as encouragement to fight illegal immigration, instead of coercion, it didn’t violate the 10th Amendment. Read the full opinion here
In a statement, the White House praised the decision, “Today, the Ninth Circuit agreed that the Department of Justice can prioritize Federal discretionary grant dollars to support policing in cities and towns that cooperate with Federal efforts to remove illegal aliens from the country. This ruling reverses a lawless decision that enabled Sanctuary City policies, putting the safety and security of all Americans in harm’s way. Sanctuary Cities knowingly release criminal aliens out of their jails and back into our communities, instead of cooperating with ICE to ensure they are kept in custody and safely removed from the United States.”