San Francisco and Santa Clara County won preliminary injunctions to block enforcement of President Trump’s January executive order to withhold federal funds from cities that refuse to comply with federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws.
Following an April 14 hearing on the case, U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued the temporary ruling on Tuesday, saying that Trump’s order violated the Constitution by seeking to “deprive local jurisdictions of congressional allocated funds without any notice or opportunity to be heard.”
“The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds,” Orrick ruled.
The ruling was hailed by advocates
“This federal judge made the right decision by stopping President Trump from violating the Constitution by denying federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities,” said Democrat Lisa McCormick, an advocate for smart and fair immigration laws. “Since more than 70 percent of reported crime goes unsolved, President Trump would make us less safe by diverting scarce local law enforcement resources to immigration enforcement.”
The California governments that sued over the order argue that more than $2 billion in federal funding could be at risk due to Trump’s attempts to punish “sanctuary cities” by withholding federal grant money from jurisdictions that do not fully comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts.
The defiant mayors of American cities large and small — from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and smaller cities, including New Haven; Syracuse; and Austin, Texas — reacted with outrage when Trump said he would halt funding to municipalities that did not cooperate with federal immigration officials.
“We’re going to defend all of our people regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared: “I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city. There is no stranger among us. Whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel and whether you’re from Mexico or Moldova, where my grandfather came from, you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American dream.”
The judicial decree is a major political setback for the Republican president, who was also ruled out of bounds when he issued an executive order barring entry of refugees, visitors, and immigrants—including those with green cards—from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
“Trump’s effort to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States and his attempt to force localities to enforce federal laws clearly conflict with provisions of the US Constitution, so the issues make the Republican showman appear amateurish and ill prepared for his responsibilities,” said Democratic strategist James J. Devine. “I expect him to break many more promises but his popularity may not really wane among his core supporters until the economy starts to fail, which is inevitable given the tax and budget policies he is pushing. Americans asked for a disaster and they will get it.”
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