A US federal court in San Francisco has blocked an executive order issued by President Trump that cuts federal funding to sanctuary cities.
Sanctuary cities are US jurisdictions that generally shield undocumented immigrants from deportation by limiting their cooperation with the federal government to detain people who have violated immigration laws.
BREAKING: Judge grants request to halt President Trump's executive order that threatens funding for sanctuary cities pic.twitter.com/vAHouHHPNY
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 25, 2017
US District Judge William H. Orrick said in the April 25 ruling the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in challenging the order and that the balance of public interest was in their favor.
“This unconstitutional order cannot be enforced, cannot be applied, cannot exist consistent with law,” Santa Clara County, California lawyer John Keker said in an April 14 court ruling. “The president doesn’t have the power to do it.”
Trump’s January 25 executive order claimed that sanctuary cities have “caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.”
It would have directed federal agencies to use “all lawful means” to enforce the country’s immigration laws.
The Justice Department sent letters to leaders in nine cities on April 21 – including Chicago, New Orleans, and Philadelphia – putting them on notice to comply or risk losing some of their federal funding.
In a statement responding to the ruling, the Trump administration said that in its opinion, “a city that prohibits its officials from providing information to federal immigration authorities – a sanctuary city – is violating the law.”
“This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge. Today’s ruling undermines faith in our legal system and raises serious questions about circuit shopping. But we are confident we will ultimately prevail in the Supreme Court…”
In the meantime, the statement said, the administration will continue to “pursue all legal remedies” to sanctuary cities and continue efforts to “remove the criminal and gang element from our country.”