Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities

Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities
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A federal appeals court ruled Monday that the Trump administration cannot withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities, affirming previous rulings in the state. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said its ruling that the Justice Department cannot block police funds from cities not enforcing immigration laws does not extend nationally, Bloomberg News reported

The decision follows rulings from three other regional federal appeals courts against the administration. But a New York court unanimously ruled in February that the department had the authority to withhold funds from the cities that do not comply with federal authorities' enforcement of immigration laws.

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The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reconsider its February ruling on Monday. 

Bloomberg noted that the conflicting decisions make it more likely for the Supreme Court to eventually take up the case. 

But the Supreme Court declined a request by the administration to review sanctuary laws in California cities last month. The denial allowed lower California court rulings against the administration to stand.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised the decision in a statement, saying, “The rule of law has carried the day once again.”

“We’re pleased the courts have again recognized that San Francisco’s sanctuary laws and policies comply with federal law,” he said. “These grant conditions were yet another attempt at presidential overreach, and we have put a stop to it.”

The conflict involves the Justice Department’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program that aims to fund police departments for overtime pay, bulletproof vests, body cameras and other expenses. The program has been allocated about $340 million annually in recent years, according to Bloomberg News.