United States judge blocks key part of Trump's sanctuary cities order

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27 April, 2017

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick issued a ruling on Tuesday that prevented his executive order from being carried out.

President Donald Trump's administration was dealt another legal blow on Tuesday when a federal judge in San Francisco blocked the president's executive order meant to deny funding to so-called "sanctuary cities", or local governments that take steps to shelter undocumented people from federal immigration enforcement.

The ruling, which applies nationwide, was another judicial setback for the Trump administration, which has now seen three immigration orders stopped by federal courts in its first 100 days, the daily reported.

Two other judges on the Ninth Circuit earlier this year blocked different versions of Trump's proposed travel ban, which targeted Muslim-majority countries.

The judge further ruled that Trump's order threatened a wide swath of funding - not the relatively small amount the Justice Department claimed - and that the government can not cut off funding if there is no clear connection between the money and the policy at issue. The order, signed in January, threatens to withhold federal money from cities and counties that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday on Fox News that "anybody that's got a basic understanding of the Constitution" would agree with Trump and disagree with the judge, a former Justice Department attorney. San Francisco, and cities like it, 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.

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"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%)".

These are cities - among them New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco - that have limited their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

But Orrick said in his ruling that the president can not set new conditions on spending approved by Congress. "But we are confident we will ultimately prevail in the Supreme Court, just as we will prevail in our lawful efforts to impose immigration restrictions necessary to keep terrorists out of the United States".

The judge ruled the threat to take away federal funding from those cities could be unconstitutional.

The Trump administration plans to appeal the ruling from the district court, which falls under the USA 9th Circuit.

In the last Supreme Court term, the 9th Circuit came in second on that score.


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