Ruling against sanctuary city order lauded in San Francisco

Judge blocks Trump order on sanctuary city funding

U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued the preliminary injunction earlier in the day in two lawsuits - one filed by the city of San Francisco, the other by Santa Clara County - against the executive order targeting communities that protect immigrants from deportation. The government has appealed those decisions.

On the other hand, White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus said the lawyers at the Department of Justice (DOJ) are reviewing the ruling and expressed confidence that the government would win the case in the Supreme Court.

"It's the 9th Circuit going bananas", Priebus said, referring to the West Coast judicial district where the judge ruled.

Trump has said that sanctuary cities cause "immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic", Bloomberg noted.

The US Justice Department said in a statement it would follow existing federal law with respect to sanctuary jurisdictions, as well as enforce conditions tied to federal grants.

Dennis Herrera said the ruling is "strong rebuke" to the Trump administration, and "substantial on virtually every issue that the court found in our favor".

Supporters of the sanctuary policy argue that enlisting police cooperation in rounding up immigrants for removal undermines communities' trust in local police, particularly among Latinos.

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Santa Clara County, which includes the city of San Jose and several smaller Silicon Valley communities, sued in February, saying Trump's order was unconstitutional.

Notifying that "an injunction against the president is not appropriate", the judge, who is based in San Francisco, a sanctuary city in Northern California, ruled that "the president has no role in implementing Section 9", which stipulated defunding sanctuary cities.

In making the ruling apply nationwide, Orrick blocked the government from enforcing a key portion of Trump's January executive order on immigration, which ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department to block cities who do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement from receiving federal funds.

Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams said the ruling will allow cities and counties across the country to prepare budgets without the "unconstitutional threat of federal defunding hanging over our heads". The county argued it was owed millions of dollars of federal funding every day and that its budgetary planning process had been thrown into disarray by the order.

Second, the Court has said that conditions may not be imposed on federal grants unless they are "unambiguously" stated in the statute's text "so that the States can knowingly decide whether or not to accept those funds". Any doubt about the scope of the order, Orrick wrote, had been erased by public comments made by the president and the attorney general.

"Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement can not be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves", the judge said.

If Section 9 of the executive order was enforced, according to the lawsuit, at stake for Santa Clara county would be 1.7 billion US dollars in federal and federally dependent funds, which made up roughly 35 percent of the county's total revenues in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez called it a victory for immigrant rights.

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