President Trump suffered another serious judicial bump Tuesday when a San Francisco judge ruled against his executive order barring federal funds to the so-called sanctuary cities. This decision by a judge is the latest court setback for the Trump administration, including three blocks on his earlier immigration orders and travel bans.
Judge William H. Orrick of U.S. District Court in San Francisco ruled that Trump had overstepped his powers and temporarily blocked the president’s efforts to deny the sanctuary cities of federal funds.
Ironically, the judge used Trump’s own words in his decision, noting they had left no doubt about the intentions of his executive order. “If there was doubt about the scope of the order,” Orrick wrote, “the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments. The president has called it a ‘weapon’ to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement…and the president intends to insure that ‘counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cities don’t get federal funding in compliance with the executive order.’”
The judge also wrote that Trump could not impose new conditions because that power resides with Congress.
Among those elated by the judge’s ruling was New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who stated, “As we’ve said since January—and my legal guidance makes clear—President Trump does not have the constitutional authority to broadly cut off funding to state and cities simply because they are lawfully acting to protect their immigrant families.”
He welcomed the court’s decision, as did the New York Immigration Coalition. In his response, Steve Choi, the executive director of the Coalition, wrote, “When people are afraid to report crimes or engage with law enforcement, it places all of our communities at risk. This is another big victory for America’s immigrants, a huge defeat for the Trump’s administration’s senseless agenda…This week Trump’s budget proposal will be released and he wants us to pay for ‘The Wall’ that was his grand scheme!”
Choi continued, “Mexico said ‘No!’ to Trump’s bully tactics, and we need to follow suit.”
Choi said an estimated $70 billion is the expected cost to erect a wall along the U.S. Mexico border. “Trump promised his supporters that this wall was being built for public safety and to protect jobs, as a ploy for his real racist agenda,” Choi added, “but the budget he proposed puts all of those things into jeopardy and directly impacts the people who overwhelming voted for him. Democratic Members of Congress are starting to take a stand against Trump’s wall proposal and budget as a whole, and if we can peel away even a small amount of Republican support, we’ll be able to block the funding for this potential disaster just like we did with Trump Care a few weeks ago.”
The judge’s decision remains a complex issue. A recent meeting of mayors with Attorney General Jeff Sessions underscored the problems and the need for further discussion.