Saturday, July 22, 2017

Judge upholds injunction vs. Trump punishing 'sanctuary' local governments

IN ANOTHER SETBACK to the Donald Trump administration, a federal judge in California has denied the Department of Justice's request to remove an injunction halting the withholding of federal monies from local governments not assisting the enforcement of immigration policies.

On Thursday (July 20) U.S. District Judge William Orrick III in San Francisco upheld the injunction preventing any withholding of federal funding to those government entities not cooperating with immigration officers. The judge said the narrower interpretation released by Sessions did not alter the court's initial April decision to impose the block on Trump's executive order.

In ruling against the Trump administration's motion, Orrick said that "that the Counties have standing, that their claims against the Executive Order are ripe, and that they are likely to succeed on the merits of those claims."

Trump issued the order in January directing that funding be slashed to all jurisdictions that refuse to comply with a statute that requires local governments to share information with immigration authorities.

The so-called sanctuary jurisdictions generally do not offer assistance to ICE when the immigration officers conduct their enforcement duties. Dozens of local governments and cities, including San Francisco, Santa Clara County, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have joined the growing “sanctuary” movement.
The Trump administration contends that local authorities endanger public safety when they decline to hand over for deportation undocumented immigrants arrested for crimes.

However, research and studies have shown that developing trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities make those communities safer. If local law enforcement is used to enforce immigraiton laws, that trusting relationship would be replaced by distrust, suspicion and fear.

After Trump issued the sanctuary cities executive order earlier this year, Santa Clara County — which includes the city of San Jose and several smaller Silicon Valley communities — sued, saying it was unconstitutional. San Francisco filed a similar lawsuit.

In a ruling in April, Orrick said Trump’s order targeted broad categories of federal funding for sanctuary governments and that plaintiffs challenging the order were likely to succeed in proving it unconstitutional.

"If there was doubt about the scope of the Order, the President and Attorney General have erased it with their public comments," Orrick wrote. "The Constitution vests the spending power in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds."

“Once again, the District Court has sent a message to President Trump that he cannot use the threat of withholding funds to coerce local governments into becoming federal immigration operatives—an unconstitutional effort that puts at risk vital services for millions of people across the country,” said Dave Cortese, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.