California Judge Blocks Trump's Executive Order on Sanctuary Cities

As President Trump neared his 100th day of presidency, his agenda dealt with yet another setback; on Tuesday, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked an executive order from Trump which would prevent sanctuary cities from receiving federal funding.

Sanctuary cities — which include Boston, Northampton and Amherst — are locations where local authorities do not have to cooperate with federal agencies like Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) when detaining and arresting illegal immigrants. These cities have become a particularly prominent topic of debate since President Trump began running for office, since one of his campaign promises involved the removal of undocumented citizens from the U.S.

Judge William H. Orrick ruled that the order was a no-go, writing, “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 other words, the President cannot threaten to withhold a city’s federal funding (which includes educational grants, infrastructure repair, etc.) just because he does not agree with their immigration policies.

Orrick also wrote that the order was a “violation” of the Constitution's separation-of-power rules, since Congress — not the president — is supposed to be in charge of deciding the conditions of federal fund distribution.

The judge’s ruling was the result of lawsuits brought against the Trump Administration by San Francisco and Santa Clara county in California. After Trump made numerous statements targeting San Francisco and referred to California as “out of control” in regards to immigration policies, the state filed a lawsuit requesting an injunction on Trump’s orders.

“You can’t put a gun to the head of states and localities to get them to comply with what you might want at the federal level,” said San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera. According to the Atlantic, federal funds account for “roughly $1.2 billion of San Francisco’s $9.6 budget and about 35 percent of Santa Clara’s total budget.” Depriving these locations of the funds could prove detrimental to their economies.

Trump, unhappy with the ruling, threatened to take the case to the Supreme Court in a tweet on Wednesday morning:

If the Trump administration does decide to appeal the case, it will be heard by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — the same court that blocked Trump’s temporary travel ban earlier this year. However, while a federal judge may have ruled that Trump cannot punish cities for their sanctuary policies by withholding federal funding, he still has the ability to put forth legislation which could restrict certain grants, so the battle is far from over.

Sources: 1, 2, 3