As part of President Donald Trump’s attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions set conditions for jurisdictions’ funding on whether or not they complied with federal immigration enforcement.
The rule could potentially prevent millions of dollars from flowing to several states.
Some of those states — Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, New York, and Washington, who could lose nearly $25 million — sued the administration, arguing that it tried to exert too much control.
In announcing the lawsuit, New York attorney general Barbara Underwood accused Trump of lodging a “political attack” and risk their public safety.
“This is a political attack on New Yorkers, at the expense of our public safety – and it is unlawful. So we will see the Trump administration in court,” she said.
Watch some of her remarks below:
The lawsuit reportedly claimed that Sessions didn’t have the right to set those conditions on funding for the Byrne JAG grants, funds designed to assist local law enforcement.
The report also said the administration put the states in a difficult position:
DOJ has thus forced the States into an untenable position: accept unlawful and unconstitutional conditions that diminish our sovereign ability to set our own law enforcement priorities and protect our communities, or forfeit Byrne JAG funding, thus undermining the vital programs that such funding supports.
But according to the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), states violated the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause — which privileges federal over state law — by refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
“The refusal to cooperate with federal immigration officers is not only a violation of the Supremacy Clause, but allows dangerous criminals to live among the general population,” Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI, said.
In a statement to IJR, Wilcox also blasted New York’s claim that sanctuary policies helped keep communities safe.
“The claim that the administration’s actions endanger the public safety in New York is laughable, as the state’s sanctuary policy puts New Yorkers in far greater danger,” he said.
New York’s government has shown particular hostility to federal immigration enforcement with Governor Andrew Cuomo sending a cease and desist letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), arguing the agency’s tactics were unlawful.
In response, ICE Director Tom Homan defended his agents’ actions and blasted Cuomo’s comments. “The Governor’s comments were inaccurate and an insult to ICE’s sworn law enforcement officers who conduct their lawful mission professionally and with integrity,” Homan said.