US Judge Blocks Trump Order to Cut Funding for 'Sanctuary Cities'

On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, a federal judge blocked a Trump administration order to withhold funding from co.

NY mayor Bill de Blasio denounced Trump's "illogical and unconstitutional desire to scapegoat immigrants" while Chicago's Rahm Emanuel vowed his administration would not "sit idly by while President Trump threatens American cities because he doesn't share our values".

After Santa Clara and San Francisco counties asked for a preliminary injunction to stop the government from carrying out its threat, Orrick's ruled on Tuesday to put Trump's plan on hold.

The order has also led to lawsuits by Seattle; two MA cities, Lawrence and Chelsea; and a third San Francisco Bay Area government, the city of Richmond.

It was Judge William H. Orrick of the United States District Court who expressed his opposition to the Trump administration's attempt at denying federal funds to cities who do not cooperate with authorities on immigration enforcement, citing that only Congress has such power.

"These cities are engaged in unsafe and unlawful nullification of federal law in an attempt to erase our borders", the White House said in a statement.

In making the ruling apply nationwide, the judge blocked the government from enforcing a key portion of Trump's January executive order on immigration. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez called it a victory for immigrant rights.

But the White House tore into the ruling, saying the judge "unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation".

There is no official definition of a sanctuary city, but in general, such municipalities do not allow their police departments to help ICE detain and deport immigrants.

Trump reacted to the decision on Twitter on Wednesday morning, calling the decision "ridiculous" and saying he would take his fight to the highest court, tweeting: "See you in the Supreme Court".

Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville, another vocal critic of Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities, welcomed Orrick's ruling in a brief statement of his own.

He continued, "Out of our very big country, with many choices, does everyone notice that both the "ban" case and now the "sanctuary" case is brought in the Ninth Circuit, which has a awful record of being overturned (close to 80%)".

The judge called the order "an example of the President's use of the bully pulpit", saying he can not threaten to withhold funds so broadly. "Messy system." That is apparently a reference to the 9th circuit's liberal reputation and rulings that have often irked conservatives.

Then, in March, Trump blasted another federal judge's ruling that blocked a revised version of the travel ban, suggesting it was a politically motivated decision that made the USA look "weak".

A district judge last month suspended Trump's travel ban hours before it was set to go into effect.

The injunction will stay in place while the lawsuits work their way through court. "It's wonderful to know that families don't have to fear that they're going to be torn apart because they live in a sanctuary city, or that their funding is going to be taken away". California was informed it could lose $18.2 million.

Orrick, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, ruled that Trump's order violated the Constitution by trying to punish local governments by seeking to "deprive local jurisdictions of congressional allocated funds without any notice or opportunity to be heard".

Orrick appeared to sense the ambiguity of the policy, at one point asking, "What would the objective of the executive order be?"

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says a judge's ruling against a Trump administration order to withhold funding from sanctuary cities is another case of "the 9th Circuit going bananas".

  • Leroy Wright