Federal judge blocks Trump's sanctuary cities order

A San Francisco judge has blocked enforcement of President Trump’s executive order barring federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities.

San Francisco and Santa Clara County won preliminary injunctions to block Trump’s January order to withhold federal funds from cities that refuse to comply with federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws, according to multiple reports.

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According to the judge’s order, the Justice Department can still withhold grants from places that don’t comply with the law, but it cannot enforce the order “in a way that violates the Constitution,” according to a Washington Post reporter.

The injunction says it “does nothing more than implement the effect of the Government’s flawed interpretation of the Order. It does not affect the ability of the Attorney General or the Secretary to enforce existing conditions of federal grants ... nor does it impact the Secretary’s ability to develop regulations or other guidance defining what a sanctuary jurisdiction is or designating a jurisdiction as such.”

U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued the temporarily ruling on Tuesday, following an April 14 hearing on the case.  

The Obama-appointed judge ruled that the order violated the Constitution by attempting to punish local governments by seeking to “deprive local jurisdictions of congressional allocated funds without any notice or opportunity to be heard.” 

“The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds,” Orrick ruled.

The California governments that sued over the order argue that more than $2 billion in federal funding could be at stake.

The ruling will remain in place while the lawsuit moves through the court.

The Trump administration may ask the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco to overturn the ruling, Bloomberg reported.

Updated 4:49 p.m.