Court rules Trump administration can withhold grants from ‘sanctuary cities’

New York City and seven states — New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island — sued in 2018 for withholding funding.

By Pete Williams | NBC News|

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Feb. 23, 2020.Saul Loeb / AFP – Getty Images

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the Justice Department can refuse to give crime-fighting money to cities and states that consider themselves sanctuaries and refuse to share information with federal immigration authorities.

The unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was a defeat for New York City and seven states — Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington. They sued after the Justice Department said in 2017 that it would not award grants from a federal program to local governments that withheld information about undocumented immigrants in their jails.

“It recognizes the lawful authority of the Attorney General to ensure that Department of Justice grant recipients are not at the same time thwarting federal law enforcement priorities,” A Justice Department spokesman said in praising the ruling.

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