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A panel of three appeals court judges on Tuesday upheld a previous ruling that the U.S. Department of Justice cannot compel the cities of Providence and Central Falls to comply with federal immigration authorities as a condition of receiving federal public safety grants. The cities sued the Department of Justice in August 2018 for requiring that recipients of a federal criminal-justice grant, known as the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, cooperate with authorities in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

Put simply, Providence and Central Falls are both self-described “sanctuary cities” and carelessly endanger the citizens who live there by prohibiting their law enforcement officers from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This comes nearly two months after a similar "sanctuary city" - New York City - released a 21-year-old illegal alien after refusing a detainer that ICE had placed on the alien. Despite the fact that ICE knew about this alien and wholly could have prevented him from perpetrating any other crime against Americans, but because of New York's sanctuary policies, Reeaz Khan was released from holding due to his illegal alien satus where he then went on to rape and brutally kill a 92-year-old woman while she walked near her home.

Yet somehow, the judges of the First Circuit Court who knew full well the dangers that sanctuary jurisdictions pose to their communities, ruled that the "statutory formula outlining how the grant can be allocated doesn’t include authorization for the Department of Justice to impose such conditions on the recipients." Adding:

It simply does not allow the DOJ to impose by brute force conditions on Byrne JAG [Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant] grants to further its own unrelated law enforcement priorities. In fact, the express authorization for specific deviations from the formula strongly implies that Congress did not intend to give the DOJ the power to advance its own priorities by means of grant conditions.

The decision upholds a 2019 ruling by Judge John J. McConnell Jr. in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island. However, it stands in contrast to a recent ruling in an extremely similar case. Last month, three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan sided with the Department of Justice in a lawsuit filed against the department by Rhode Island and six other states over the criminal justice grants being withheld from jurisdictions who obviously place such a low priority on public safety and criminal justice.

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Updated: Wed, Mar 25th 2020 @ 1:59pm EDT