Ninth Circuit in Pasadena Dumps Trump’s Immigration Quid Pro Quo on Federal Funding

Published : Saturday, November 2, 2019 | 4:32 AM

President Donald Trump’s least favorite legal panel handed him a defeat by ruling that local law enforcement need not cooperate with federal immigration officials as a quid pro quo to receiving federal criminal justice funds.

Trump has said he loathes the Ninth Circuit, which covers the western United States. and has pledged on occasion to “break it up” although the executive possesses no such authority.

A three-judge panel in Pasadena found the administration exceeded its authority when it placed special conditions on recipients of the grant program, requiring that immigration authorities be allowed into local jails and that inmate-release information be provided, according to a report of the City News Service.

The decision is the result of an appeal that administration lawyers filed after a Los Angeles federal judge blocked the federal government from imposing conditions on local governments before they could qualify for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in July 2017, said more than 200 “sanctuary cities” will be disqualified from receiving JAG funds if they continued to refuse cooperating with federal agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said new immigration requirements would be placed on all JAG grant applications, including requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration agents.

Several cities challenged the new requirement in courts. In Los Angeles, City Attorney Mike Feuer filed for a permanent injunction in after the city did not receive JAG funds in 2017. For 20 years before that, Los Angeles has received more than $1 million annually from the grant.

Last February, Judge Manuel Real granted the injunction, saying the U.S. Department of Justice “exceeded its authority and violated the constitution” with those conditions.

Real, the nation’s longest-serving active federal judge, died in June at age 95.

District courts in several other cities, including those in New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, have decided in favor of local jurisdictions, the report said.

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