In one of the Trump administration’s biggest judicial victories to date, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the Justice Department can withhold grant money from cities that refuse to abide by federal immigration laws.

The ruling, which is in contrast to the lower courts and to several other federal-level rulings around the country, could mean that New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey, and other states will lose out on millions of dollars’ worth of federal funds because of their sanctuary policies.

“While mindful of the respect owed to our sister circuits, we cannot agree that the federal government must be enjoined from imposing the challenged conditions on the federal grants here at issue,” wrote Judge Reena Raggi. “These conditions help the federal government enforce national immigration laws and policies supported by successive Democratic and Republican administrations. But more to the authorization point, they ensure that applicants satisfy particular statutory grant requirements imposed by Congress and subject to Attorney General oversight.”

At issue is an announcement in 2017 by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said at the time that the federal government would no longer disperse Byrne Grant monies to cities and states who refuse to give immigration agents access to their jails and who refuse to give ICE a heads-up before releasing illegal immigrants from custody.

“So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” said Sessions at the time.

You will be unsurprised to learn that the American Civil Liberties Union is up in arms. In an interview with the AP, staff attorney Cody Wofsy said the ruling was an “outlier.”

“Over and over, courts have said the Department of Justice doesn’t have authority under governing statutes to impose these conditions,” he said. “These conditions are part of the administration’s attempts to bully, cajole and coerce state and local governments into participating in federal immigration enforcement activities.”

Wofsy said that the Constitution provided states and cities with the right to “decline to become part of the administration’s deportation force.”

Of course, he’s right. Good thing that there is nothing in this ruling that compels them to do such a thing. For one, they are not automatically entitled to federal grant money, and the administration has every right to make sure these funds are being diverted to cities and states that are actually, you know, enforcing the law. Second, no one’s talking about a “deportation force.” We’re talking about very simple, cooperative measures that should be expected of any local government that isn’t actively engaging in insurrection.

This could be a landmark decision, if only because it sets the stage for this issue to go in front of the Supreme Court. Perhaps then, we can finally make significant headway in ridding this country of the scourge known as sanctuary cities.