Trump seeks reconsideration of sanctuary ruling

Attorney General Jeff Sessions waits to be introduced during a service at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on May 9 in Washington, D.C. Sessions issued an order on Monday narrowing the scope of his financial threat to "sanctuary cities".

Under the new definition, "sanctuary jurisdictions" will be those that "willfully refuse to comply" with a federal law that requires federal, state and local government agents to share individuals' immigration status with immigration authorities.

The U.S. Department of Justice asked U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick on Monday for permission to file documents asking the judge to reconsider or clarify his ruling in light of a new memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

While the memo creates limits to the definition of sanctuary jurisdiction to those willfully violating this particular federal law and specifies only those grants which already contain a statutory requirement to comply, it is explicit that these determinations are specifically for President Trump's executive order.

Orrick appeared to address the administration's arguments in his April ruling.

That point figured prominently in the recent ruling by federal Judge William Orrick, who wrote: "Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement can not be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration-enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves". The administration suffered an earlier defeat when two federal judges suspended executive orders restricting travel from several Muslim-majority countries.

After the ruling, Trump vowed to appeal the judge's ruling to the Supreme Court in a tweet, and the White House said in a statement that sanctuary cities like Chicago "are putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens, and those city officials who authored these policies have the blood of dead Americans on their hands".

Separate and apart from the Executive Order, statutes may authorize the Department to tailor grants or to impose additional conditions on grantees to advance the Department's law enforcement priorities.

The Justice Department is looking for more ways to deny coveted federal grant money to so-called sanctuary cities.

Orrick noted that the the federal government had argued that the order was "merely an exercise of the President's "bully pulpit" to highlight a changed approach to immigration enforcement".

Last month, the Justice Department sent letters to nine jurisdictions ordering them to prove compliance with Section 1373 before June 30 or risk losing certain grants for the current fiscal year. "The federal government can't hold a gun to the head of cities and counties and force them to spend their limited police resources on immigration enforcement".

  • Larry Hoffman