SAN FRANCISCO (AP/CBS) — A federal judge in San Francisco has blocked a Trump administration order to withhold funding from communities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued the temporary ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit over the executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities. The decision will stay in place nationwide while the lawsuit moves through court.
“The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds,” Orrick said in his ruling. “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.”
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other elected leaders have been defiant that the city will not act as immigration agents for the federal government.
“The Trump administration’s attempt to coerce cities to choose between our most basic values and federal funding was not only bad public policy, we now have further proof that it was unconstitutional,” Emanuel said in a prepared statement. “The City of Chicago was proud to sign on to an amicus brief in support of an immediate injunction, and I commend Judge Orrick’s thoughtful decision to block enforcement of this illegal executive order.”
The Republican president’s administration and two California governments that sued over the order disagreed about its scope.
San Francisco and Santa Clara County argued that it threatened billions of dollars in federal funding.
But an attorney for the Justice Department, Chad Readler, said at a recent court hearing that it applied to a limited set of grants.
Readler said less than $1 million was at stake nationally and possibly no San Francisco funding.
“The Order’s broad directive and unclear terms, and the President’s and Attorney General’s endorsement of them, has caused substantial confusion and justified fear among states and local jurisdictions that they will lose all federal grant funding at the very least,” the judge wrote.
“The threat of the Order and the uncertainty it is causing impermissibly interferes with the Counties’ ability to operate, to provide key services, to plan for the future, and to budget. The Counties have established that, absent an injunction, they are likely to suffer irreparable harm.”
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