This Tuesday, the federal courts delivered another blow to President Donald Trump's immigration agenda by blocking the Trump Administration from enforcing the sanctuary cities executive order.
Judge Blocks Sanctuary Cities Executive Order
Siding with the Santa Clara County, the city of San Francisco and other jurisdictions, U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick issued a preliminary injunction preventing federal agents nationwide from enforcing a section of Trump's Jan. 25 executive orders, which were aimed at cutting funds for local governments that would not assist federal authorities in locating and detaining undocumented immigrants.
In his ruling, Judge Orrick argued that taking away federal funds from sanctuary cities (cities that do not actively cooperate with some federal immigration enforcement) could potentially be unconstitutional.
Citing public comments from Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Judge Orrick concluded that the order appeared to sweep more broadly than allowed by federal law.
"If there was doubt about the scope of the Order, the President and Attorney General have erased it with their public comments," Orrick wrote. "The Constitution vests the spending power in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds."
What Does This Mean?
Although the ruling is seen as another blow to Trump's immigration plans, the injunction issued by Judge Orrick does not block all of President Trump's Jan 25 executive orders. Here's a summary of what the injunction does and does not do:
- does not block the government from enforcing conditions on federal grants, such as those grants offered by the Department of Justice
- does not block the government from creating a definition of "sanctuary jurisdictions"
- it does block the government from withholding all federal funds from cities designated as "sanctuary jurisdictions"
"This is an absolutely huge win," James Williams, counsel to Santa Clara County, told CNN. "The threat to withhold funds from state and local governments in this executive order is dead."
Trump Administration Responds To Blocking Of Sanctuary Cities Executive Order
In a late-night statement on Tuesday, the White House referred to the ruling as an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge."
The day following the Judge's ruling, Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged the Justice Department would continue to litigate the case.
In a statement, Sessions said Trump's executive actions signed in January were "squarely within the powers of the President."
"This is the Trump era," Sessions said in a statement. "Progress is being made daily, and it will continue. This will be the Administration that fully enforces our nation's immigration laws."