A federal judge halted the Trump administration’s executive order blocking federal funds from going to “sanctuary cities” Tuesday.
In a ruling affecting cities nationwide, US District Judge William Orrick of the Northern District of California sided with the city of San Francisco and Santa Clara County, both of whom had previously objected to federal funds being restricted on the basis of refusing to enforce federal immigration law.
“Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves,” the Obama-appointed district judge wrote.
President Trump’s executive order in January claimed its intent was to “enhance public safety in the interior of the United States,” and charged sanctuary jurisdictions with “willfully violating federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.”
“These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic,” Trump’s order stated.
However, Judge Orrick ruled the jurisdictions had sufficiently demonstrated the order could cause “immediate irreparable harm” and that they feared the order would result in “budget uncertainty.”
The jurisdictions, Judge Orrick wrote, showed they are “currently suffering irreparable harm,” and “have a strong interest in avoiding unconstitutional federal enforcement and the significant budget uncertainty that has resulted from the Order’s broad and threatening language.”
“The Counties have demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their challenge to Section 9(a) of the Executive Order, that they will suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction, and that the balance of harms and public interest weigh in their favor,” the judge stated.
Orrick said the order’s “plain language” was too far-reaching as to attempt to include “all federal grants, not merely the three mentioned at the hearing.”
“And if there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments,” the judge added. “The President has called it ‘a weapon’ to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary has reiterated that the President intends to ensure that ‘counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cities don’t get federal government funding in compliance with the executive order.'”
Judge Orrick’s ruling “does not block the government from enforcing conditions on federal grants nor does it block the government from creating a definition of sanctuary jurisdictions,” reported CNN.
San Francisco was the site of the high-profile case in 2015 where five-time deported Mexican illegal alien Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez fatally shot 32-year-old resident Kate Steinle.
The death led to the introduction of the “Kate’s Law” legislation, which would impose a 5-year mandatory minimum prison sentence “for an alien who re-enters after being excluded, denied admission, deported, or removed.”
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