A federal judge ruled that the administration of President Donald Trump overstepped its bounds in trying to restrict funding for safety grants from reaching “sanctuary cities” across the nation.
Judge Edgardo Ramos of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sided with six states and the District of Columbia on Friday, who had challenged the Trump administration’s attempts to curtail the practice of setting up sanctuary cities elsewhere around the country, according to reporting from the Hill.
Sanctuary cities are a city or other jurisdiction “that limits its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents in order to protect low-priority immigrants from deportation, while still turning over those who have committed serious crimes,” according to America’s Voice.
Ramos agreed with the states’ assertions that the funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant were unduly threatened to be withheld from them, and that the federal government’s attempts to keep those funds from reaching them was a breach of the separation of powers, as it was an attempt to coerce them into changing their own jurisdictional policies.
“[T]he separation of powers acts as a check on tyranny and the concentration of power,” Ramos wrote in his decision, according to reporting from ABC News.
NEW: Federal judge rules the Trump administration cannot withhold public safety grants to six states and the City of New York based on the fact that they’re so-called sanctuary cities. https://t.co/OOlqaRVqdp pic.twitter.com/wzVi66tr1r
— ABC News (@ABC) November 30, 2018
The attorneys generals from the states that challenged the Trump administration’s attempts at restricting those funds celebrated the ruling, including New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who saw the moves by the president as political more than practical.
“The Trump administration’s attempt to withhold these vital funds was nothing more than a political attack at the expense of our public safety,” she said following the ruling.
The funds from the Edward Byrne grant are substantial, and number in the millions. Last year, the grant paid out more than $176 million to states across the country, including more than $8.8 million to New York and more than $3.5 million to Virginia, two of the states that were involved in the lawsuit.
The other states that were involved included New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Washington, D.C., was also a city that was involved in the litigation. In total, those states accounted for almost $24 million of the Edward Byrne grant money that was allocated last year, according to the grant’s official website detailing those funds.
The funds from that grant help police departments within states and territories across the country with a wide variety of costs, including crime prevention, law enforcement itself, drug treatment and enforcement, and more, the grant’s main webpage states.