A federal judge from California suspended the Trump administration’s plan to cut federal funds for sanctuary cities if they fail to cooperate with federal immigration agencies. U.S. District Judge William Orrick argued that the Commander in Chief cannot unilaterally add additional conditions to the way federal funds are being spent.
Santa Clara County and San Francisco Sued Trump
Orrick made the pronouncement as part of an ongoing trial filed against the Trump administration over the executive order targeting jurisdictions with a “sanctuary” status. The injunction will remain in effect until the lawsuit gets a final decision.
Two California governments sued the federal government over the scope of Trump’s order. The Santa Clara County and San Francisco said the cuts would translate into billion-dollar losses for them which would severely affect their budgets.
It’s not like it’s just some small amount of money,
one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys told the press.
The state’s acting AG, Chad Readler, thinks the two jurisdictions have interpreted the order too broadly. Reader underlined that Trump had threatened only to cut funding granted by the DHS and DOJ under three programs. The said grants require from recipients not to prevent local officials from sending people’s immigration status to federal authorities.
In other words, Trump’s executive order will deprive Santa Clara County of just $1 million in federal funds, while San Francisco will not be impacted at all, the acting attorney general said.
Trump’s critics claim the president makes use of a “bully pulpit” to force sanctuary jurisdictions to comply with the federal law.
California Judge Thinks Order Affects All Funding
Judge Orrick ruled Trump’s order “by its plain language” affects all federal grants not just three of them. The judge added that the rest of the order clearly affects all federal cash. He criticized Trump and Readler for “erasing” the scope of the executive order with their statements made to the press.
Orrick thinks federal funding that has nothing to do with immigration should not be affected by a presidential order just because the president disagrees with a jurisdiction on its immigration enforcement strategies.
The White House, on the other hand, claims sanctuary cities and other similar authorities represent safe havens for dangerous criminals. Trump’s team often cites cases such as the 2015 killing of Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman who was randomly shot on a peer by an illegal immigrant who had been deported 5 times.
Trump’s order sparked a flurry of lawsuits nationwide: two in Massachusetts, one lawsuit in Seattle, and another one in the city of Richmond. San Francisco and Santa Clara were the first municipalities to meet with the judge for a hearing.
The decision’s critics claim the judge may be biased because of his close ties to the former U.S. administration. According to The Federalist, Orrick raised more than $200,000 for former President Obama and personally donated around $30,000 to groups that supported his policies. Judge Orrick is also behind a restraining order against the pro-life activists that caught on tape Planned Parenthood employees allegedly trying to sell baby organs to bioresearch companies.
Image Source: The White House