Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Federal judge bars Trump reprisals against sanctuary governments

Asian Americans protest against Donald Trump's immigration policies.

IN A SEVERE SETBACK to the Trump administration, a federal judge in California said any attempt to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities is "clearly unconstitutional."
U.S. District William H. Orrick on Tuesday barred the Trump administration from enforcing part of Donald Trump's January executive order that withheld funds from sanctuary cities — concluding that that action would be "clearly unconstitutional."

The ruling prevents Trump from withholding funds from jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal agencies to deport undocumented immigrants,
Orrick issued a nationwide preliminary injunction — sought by San Francisco and Santa Clara counties in California — against enforcement of Section 9(a) of the January 25, 2017, executive order.


San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
"San Francisco is and will remain a Sanctuary City. We know that Sanctuary Cities are safer, healthier, more productive places to live," said San Franciscco Mayor Ed Lee in a press release. "San Francisco’s Sanctuary City laws are in compliance with federal law. If the federal government believes there is a need to detain a serious criminal they can obtain a criminal warrant, which we will honor, as we always have."The court order comes days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned cities, counties and states theater refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement would lose millions of dollars in federal grants.
Orrick's order renders toothless the threat against those local governments - such as San Francisco and Santa Clara counties - that "refuse to comply."

Last Friday, the DOJ sent letters to those sanctuary jurisdictions across the nation from New York City to Los Angeles. 


“Failure to comply with this condition could result in the withholding of grant funds, suspension or termination of the grant, ineligibility for future [Office of Justice Programs] grants or subgrants, or other action, as appropriate,” according to the letter, signed by Alan Hanson, acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs.

According to the press release, the jurisdictions have a deadline of June 30, 2017, to “provide documentation and an opinion from legal counsel” confirming their compliance.

Orrick's decision states the executive order goes beyond the president's authority under the 10th Amendment, which limits the federal government's authority over local governments. "The Executive Order uses coercive means in an attempt to force states and local jurisdictions to honor civil detainer requests, which are voluntary 'requests' precisely because the federal government cannot command states to comply with them under the Tenth Amendment," it reads.

The judge took into account the statements of Trump and Sessions in speeches and interviews that warned cities that they would lose public safety funds if they did not comply with federal immigration agents' attempts to locate and detain undocumented immigrants. "If there was doubt about the scope of the Order, the President and Attorney General have erased it with their public comments," Orrick wrote.

Orrick's ruling states the EO goes beyond the president's authority under the 10th Amendment, which places restrictions on how much authority the federal government could have over local jurisdictions. "The Executive Order uses coercive means in an attempt to force states and local jurisdictions to honor civil detainer requests, which are voluntary 'requests' precisely because the federal government cannot command states to comply with them under the Tenth Amendment," it reads.
Orrick's decision follows on other injunctions issued by federal judges in Washington, California, and Hawaii that have called into question the constitutionality of the president's other executive order pertaining to those traveling or immigrating from seven Muslim-majority countries. Last month, Federal Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii further blocked the president's revised version of the same order.
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