A federal judge in San Francisco has refused to uphold the President’s sanctuary cities order.
Trump’s executive order, which would withhold funding from cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, comes in the middle of a standoff between the State Department and local governments across the country which insist on providing “sanctuary” to illegal immigrants.
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick issued an injunction in response to lawsuits by San Francisco and Santa Clara County in California, stating, “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.”
In response to Orrick, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a memo in May saying the executive order should be applied narrowly to a small number of grants and to very specific violations of immigration law. He also said cities that “willfully refuse to comply” with federal law could lose grants from the Justice and Homeland Security departments, but not other federal funding, so there was no need for an injunction.
Orrick, however, was unconvinced by Sessions’ memo, noting that it would allow the attorney general to reverse his stand at any moment.
Striking another blow to Trump’s attempts to abolish “sanctuary cities”, Orrick’s blocking of the executive order across the country allows the lawsuits to go forward.
Sessions plans to visit Philadelphia on Friday. As a “sanctuary city,” Philadelphia officials have stated that their local law enforcement will not act as immigration agents. Sessions has challenged this lack of cooperation, calling it unconstitutional. In a recent speech to law enforcement officials in Las Vegas, Sessions pointed out that Philadelphia is “advertising” its sanctuary policy and “protecting criminals.”
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