February 15, 2019
President Donald Trump’s administration cannot cut grants to Philadelphia because the city has chosen not to cooperate with federal authorities seeking to deport immigrants living here illegally, a federal court ruled Friday.
The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld a ruling from U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson in June 2018, in which Baylson ruled the conditions imposed on the city in exchange for grant money were unconstitutional.
Friday’s ruling was a 3-0 decision, according to Reuters.
In July, Philadelphia officials announced they had decided to stop giving U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement access to its real-time arrest database.
Baylson had previously ruled against the Trump administration’s desire to withhold law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities in November 2017, when he said the city should be allowed to “deal with local issues as it sees best.”
In a statement Friday, Mayor Jim Kenney lauded the ruling, saying the city welcomes "all of those who seek safe haven" and the ruling affirms its right to do so.
“On the very day the President declared a bogus national emergency to build a useless wall," Kenney said, "I say to our immigrant community: We are glad you call Philadelphia home, and we will continue to fight for you.”
On Friday, Trump declared a national emergency to secure funding for a wall along the United States' southern border when such funds had not been provided in the spending bill that he had signed earlier, which averted another partial government shutdown.
The funding Philadelphia receives from the $1.6 million in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants will go towards police overtime and equipment enhancements, upgrades to courtroom technology, training for law enforcement, supplies of naloxone, and other public safety uses, according to the city.