President Trump has been targeting sanctuary cities since he first took his seat in office. While he attempted to withhold funds from many of the cities that aim to protect immigrants from deportation and detainment, he found himself struggling to bring other lawmakers on board after signing an executive order in 2017. Although that order wasn’t as effective as he hoped, things could change now that a “U.S. court ruled that his administration could block federal law enforcement funds to states and cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities” [Source: Reuters].
The New York Post says that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan made the ruling on Feb. 26 which stated that “the government can withhold millions in dollars in law enforcement grants to cities and states that do not give U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement access to jails and alert the agency when an illegal immigrant is being released.” The decision “overturned a lower court ruling ordering the administration to release the funds.”
After the ruling was made, President Trump sent out a tweet that read “As per recent Federal Court ruling, the Federal Government will be withholding funds from Sanctuary Cities. They should change their status and go non-Sanctuary. Do not protect criminals!” One of the reasons why sanctuary cities are so heavily frowned upon by republicans and others who are in opposition of their policies is because they believe they “discourage immigrants from coming forward to report crimes to law enforcement because of fears about their immigration status.”
In addition to that, many sanctuary cities also have policies in place that don’t coincide with the laws the Trump administration is trying to enforce. One of the policies the Trump administration is in opposition of is “a refusal by local jails to hold immigrants in the country illegally in detention beyond their scheduled release times so ICE officials can pick them up and process them for deportation,” highlights Reuters. The source went on to explain that “some officials in non-cooperative jurisdictions argue the requests are voluntary and honoring such “detainer” requests means holding people without a constitutionally valid reason.”
The Fight to Dismantle Sanctuary Cities Doesn’t Stop There
Reuters also reported that in addition to cutting funds to cities that identify as a “sanctuary,” the administration is now going to be “filing lawsuits and issuing subpoenas in what Attorney General William Barr called part of a “significant escalation” in the fight against uncooperative jurisdictions.”
Will sanctuary cities comply with Trump’s orders or forgo the funding they are currently receiving?
While it isn’t clear how cities will respond to the recent court ruling, there are some lawmakers in these areas that might stand firm on their decision to protect the immigrants living in their community, just as they did when Trump’s initial order was issued.