President Trump’s executive order to prohibit ‘sanctuary cities’ was blocked by a federal judge on Tuesday, temporarily nullifying Trump’s threat to cut off federal funding to such jurisdictions.
Trump had issued an executive order on January 25 allowing the attorney general to withhold federal grants from sanctuary cities.
Sanctuary cities, as they are called, limit local police officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials.
The cities of Santa Clara and San Francisco filed suit against the Trump administration, calling the executive order unconstitutional. San Francisco’s lawyers argued that enforcement of the executive order could result in a loss of some $2 billion per year for the city.
In his ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III placed an injunction against the executive order.
“The Constitution vests the spending power in Congress, not the President,” said Judge Orrick, adding that the executive order “cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds.”
“Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves,” he stated.
The Trump administration expressed it would appeal the decision, with Trump himself tweeting early on Wednesday morning, “See you in the Supreme Court!”
“This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge,” the White House also said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Dennis Herrera, the city attorney for San Francisco, called the executive order an overreach by the Trump administration.
“This is why we have courts — to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don’t understand the Constitution or chose to ignore it,” Herrera said.
Santa Clara’s Supervisor Cindy Chavez called the decision a “win for the neediest people in our nation.”
Judge Orrick’s decision does not completely prohibit the federal government from denying funds to cities. Other than Trump’s executive order, a law already exists prohibiting local governments from preventing law enforcement officers from providing status information of individuals to the federal government.
Orrick wrote that the temporary ruling “does not impact the Government’s ability to use lawful means to enforce existing conditions of federal grants,” and that it further does not “restrict the Secretary from developing regulations or preparing guidance on designating a jurisdiction as a ‘sanctuary jurisdiction.’”
The Justice Department said in a statement that it would comply with all existing laws in regards to sanctuary cities.