As the country prepares for the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents starting this Sunday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that the Department of Justice could give preference in awarding grants to cities that would use the money to focus on illegal immigration.

The 2-1 split ruling was in favor of the Trump administration following a lawsuit brought by the City of Los Angeles, CNN reports. The city sued the DOJ because it did not receive any funding from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program.

The program provides funding to initiatives that work to build trust between communities and law enforcement agencies, and the Trump administration chose to keep federal dollars from sanctuary cities and states that refused to work with federal immigration enforcement authorities.

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Los Angeles was denied the funds on the grounds that it did not focus on immigration for its community policing grant application. The decision reversed a district court’s ruling.

“The panel rejected Los Angeles’s argument that DOJ’s practice of giving additional consideration to applicants that choose to further the two specified federal goals violated the Constitution’s Spending Clause,” wrote Judge Sandra Ikuta, joined by Judge Jay Bybee.

“The panel held that DOJ did not exceed its statutory authority in awarding bonus points to applicants that selected the illegal immigration focus area or that agreed to the Certification,” she wrote.

Judge Kim Wardlaw wrote in dissent, calling the DOJ’s actions with the COPS grants “Orwellian.”

“The majority goes astray by finding no meaning in Congress’s use of the term ‘community-oriented policing’ and then deferring under Chevron to DOJ’s Orwellian effort to define ‘community-oriented policing’ to include ‘partnering with federal law enforcement to address illegal immigration,’ ” she wrote.

“Congress did not authorize COPS grants for anything other than placing additional state and local cops on the beat and promote community partnerships,” she wrote.


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