Court rules Trump order threatening to withhold funding from sanctuary cities is unconstitutional

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ruled that President Trump’s executive order threatening to withhold funding from so-called “sanctuary cities” is unconstitutional, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s ruling in favor of two California counties that sued the Trump administration for threatening to withhold money from jurisdictions that have declared themselves sanctuary cities.

“Absent congressional authorization, the administration may not redistribute or withhold properly appropriated funds in order to effectuate its own policy goals,” Chief Judge Sidney Thomas wrote for the majority in the 2-1 ruling.

The Wednesday ruling, which came in response to lawsuits filed by two California districts, added there is not adequate evidence for blocking the order nationwide yet.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick ruled in November that the president’s executive order on sanctuary cities in January overextended his authority. He sent the case back to lower courts for a final decision on a national injunction.

Trump in January 2016 signed an executive order that stated sanctuary jurisdictions that refused to comply with federal immigration enforcement would be ineligible to receive some kinds of federal funding.

Cities across the U.S. have declared themselves sanctuaries since Trump’s election, meaning they will not provide information about the legal status of immigrants within their jurisdictions to the federal government.

A federal judge in Chicago last week also ruled against Justice Department, asserting that the Trump administration cannot withhold federal public safety funding from the city if it refuses to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to the Chicago Tribune.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber on Friday granted a permanent injunction against conditions imposed by the Justice Department, including requirements that local governments share information with the federal government about an immigration’s status and allowing Homeland Security to access local law enforcement, according to the Tribune.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel declared the case a “major win for all Chicagoans and a significant victory for public safety.” 

Updated: 2:34 p.m.

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