Federal Judge Blocks Trump Order to Defund Sanctuary Cities

“When cities stand with their immigrant and refugee communities, they win.”

Today U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction blocking President Donald Trump’s administration from fulfilling his campaign promise to cut funding to sanctuary cities (which limit cooperation between federal immigration agents and local police), according to the Associated Press.

In short, Orrick ruled that Trump overstepped his authority as President by putting conditions on federal grants to cities—specifically, the condition that cities must cooperate with immigration agents. Only Congress has the authority to do that, wrote Orrick.

“The injunction will stay in place while the lawsuits work their way through court,” reports the AP.

Seattle City Councilmember M. Lorena González, who is the daughter of undocumented immigrants, responded to news of the preliminary injuction with a brief press release this afternoon.

“Today’s victory in court proves once again that when cities stand with their immigrant and refugee communities, they win,” she said. “Trump is not only on the wrong side of history, but the wrong side of the law. Seattle, and welcoming cities across the nation, will continue to stand hand in hand with our immigrant and refugee families, friends and neighbors.”

“This court ruling preventing President Trump from punishing ‘sanctuary cities’ is yet another rebuke of his misguided agenda,” Mayor Ed Murray said in another press release this afternoon. “Once again, a federal judge has blocked President Trump’s dangerous overreach. While we review this ruling’s impact on our City’s lawsuit against the president’s order, we will continue to embrace all our residents because we know Trump’s attacks on ‘sanctuary cities’ are attacks on Constitutional Cities.”

As we’ve previously reported, Seattle has its own pending lawsuit against the president’s order to defund sanctuary cities. City Attorney Pete Holmes argues that the executive order is both vague and unconstitutional; he wants a federal judge to “nail down” exactly what that order means, and then strike it down. According to the mayor’s office, Seattle receives more than $150 million in federal funding annually.

Like Seattle, King County is a “sanctuary” jurisdiction, because it does not honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests that are not accompanied by a criminal warrant. (While illegally crossing the boarder is a misdemeanor, according to CNN, overstaying one’s visa is a civil offense, not a crime per se.) County Council chair Joe McDermott responded to the news of Orrick’s order today via phone. “President Trump has been chasing at windmills for his entire first 100 days,” said McDermott, “trying to punish sanctuary cities and counties. Once again, his attempt to scare Americans proves to be legally indefensible.” McDermott noted that last week, the county council passed a “resiliency fund” to support immigrants at risk of being targeted by federal authorities.

“King County is a safe and welcoming place for everyone,” said McDermott, “and the decision today indicates we’re on strong legal ground to do so.”

cjaywork@seattleweekly.com

This post has been updated.

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