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Justice Department can't cut police grants to California sanctuary cities, court rules

Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration can't legally withhold grants to police in California cities that don't cooperate with federal agencies in the enforcement of immigration laws, a federal appeals court ruled.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco also said on Monday that its order blocking the Justice Department from withholding assistance to local police in so-called sanctuary cities does not extend nationally. Three other regional federal appeals court have also ruled against the administration policy, but the one in New York allowed it to go forward and on Monday declined to reconsider its ruling.

The conflicting appellate decisions makes it more likely the Supreme Court will take up the case at some point.

The lawsuits revolve around the Justice Department's Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, which provides funding for "critical gaps" in state and local law enforcement. In 2019, the funds were available for overtime pay for officers and to help buy bulletproof vests and body cameras, among other uses. Congress has appropriated around $340 million annually for the program in recent years.


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