Attorney General William Barr appears before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee to make his Justice Department budget request, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

 

One of the most dysfunctional elements in our notoriously dysfunctional immigration system is the ability of municipalities to declare themselves “sanctuary cities.” In essence, this means that cities refuse to cooperate with efforts by ICE to apprehend and deport illegal aliens, even criminals, because OrangeManBad. While I think that this is patently illegal and folks should be indicted for this–name another federal law enforcement issue where anyone puts up with this bullsh**, is there a sanctuary city for automatic weapons?–my bottom line opinion is that if the citizens of those cities want to live in a Third World sh** hole overrun by a criminal population, then they should be allowed to vote to make that happen. Where my line is drawn is when these goons demand that the federal government take my money to support their effort. That was the issue in a case called City of Los Angeles vs. William Barr that was decided yesterday in the Ninth Circuit.

The Justice Department awards several billion dollars in grants each year targeted towards particular outcomes. One of the major ones is via Community Oriented Policing Services. The process works like this. A municipality submits a grant proposal. DOJ scores the grant against criteria published in the grant application. The scores are rank ordered. Projects are funded in rank order until funds are exhausted.

In 2017, Los Angeles applied for a grant, it had received money in just about every year since the program started and thought it was a gimme. In the 2017 application, one of the items scored by DOJ was cooperation with immigration enforcement. Los Angeles, a sanctuary city, got a big, fat goose egg in that area. That loss of points placed LA below the cut line. So they did what any other leftist does when they lose, they went to a friendly judge and filed a lawsuit. And, because this was California, the judge in the case (a Lyndon B. Freakin Johnson appointee) decided that he was Galactic Commander.

A federal judge in California ruled Wednesday that the Justice Department cannot withhold grant funding from cities and counties that do not comply with its immigration policies, and imposed a nationwide injunction on the feds’ actions.

Los Angeles officials called the injunction a “complete victory” and a “dagger” in the Trump administration’s tactics to use federal funding as a weapon against cities that do not comply with its immigration policies.

The city says it was denied federal funding for community policing programs because it refuses to let ICE agents into jails to ask detainees about their immigration status. It sued the Justice Department this past September seeking an injunction.

In its complaint, Los Angeles said the Justice Department withheld two grants and called the conditions unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real ruled the federal government’s conditions violate the General Welfare Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the state’s rule-making procedures.

Real also granted the nationwide injunction, which blocks the federal government from putting conditions on Justice Department grants and other funds.

This is obvious nonsense. No one has a right to a grant. Moreover, no one has a right to a grant from the Justice Department when it refuses to enforce US law. This judge, in essence, ruled that a grantor agency has zero authority to decide the criteria for awarding grants.

The administration appealed. The ruling came down yesterday.

A federal appeals court on Friday gave President Trump a rare legal victory in his efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, upholding the Justice Department’s decision to give preferential treatment in awarding community policing grants to cities that cooperate with immigration authorities.

The 2-to-1 opinion overturned a nationwide injunction issued last year by a federal judge in Los Angeles. The appeals court said awarding extra points in the application process to cities that cooperate was consistent with the goals of the grant program created by Congress.

“The Department is pleased that the Court recognized the lawful authority of the Administration to provide favorable treatment when awarding discretionary law-enforcement grants to jurisdictions that assist in enforcing federal immigration laws,” the Justice Department said in an emailed statement.

The judges in the majority were both Bush appointees, the dissent was a Clinton appointee, for those of you keeping score and believe that Chief Justice Roberts was huffing Lysol when he claimed “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”

The great thing about this decision, in addition to merely being sane and coming from the Ninth Circuit, is that it lays out a clear road map for the Trump Administration to begin choking off the flow of federal cash to municipalities that are at war with the nation’s immigration policy. You can nearly bet that the 2019 round of grants will be full of these conditions.

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