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Judge declines to remove block on Trump sanctuary cities order

Michael Reynolds/Getty Images

Michael Reynolds/Getty Images

Originally published by Politico

A federal judge in California has denied a request by the Trump administration to remove an injunction halting President Donald Trump’s executive order on so-called sanctuary cities from being implemented.

The move further thwarts the Trump White House’s attempt to effectively penalize cities providing safe haven to undocumented immigrants by threatening to strip them of federal funding.

On Thursday U.S. District Judge William Orrick III in San Francisco moved to decline a request by the Justice Department to reconsider whether a memo by Attorney General Jeff Sessions narrowed the scope of Trump’s executive action and lifted the need for an injunction. The judge said the narrower interpretation released by Sessions did not alter the court’s initial April decision to impose the block.

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.”

In May, Sessions released a memo to officials directing them to more narrowly interpret Trump’s January action on sanctuary cities. Hours later the Justice Department cited the notice in requesting the court to lift its injunction. Mayors across the U.S. had expressed concern that the Trump administration would apply the order more loosely to remove or reduce funding from cities that did not comply with federal immigration laws.

In filing his April injunction, Orrick cited public comments from Sessions and Trump regarding the scope of the administration to dismiss notion’s that the executive order would simply be used to enforce existing law.

“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.”

In the memo, Sessions said that cities and localities that “willfully refuse to comply” with federal law would be subject to funding removal, but that it would only apply to Justice Department and Homeland Security grants “and not to other sources of federal funding.”

Read more: www.politico.com/story/2017/07/20/judge-declines-to-remove-trump-block-sanctuary-cities-240780

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