Federal Judge Says No to Trump and Sessions on "Sanctuary City" Funding

Donald Trump and Jefferson Sessions lose another round in court, this time on the threat to withhold federal funds from cities that don't comply with its requests to detain undocumented persons when released from state and local jails or assist in enforcing federal immigration laws.

A judge in San Francisco on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Trump’s efforts to starve localities of federal funds when they limit their cooperation with immigration enforcement, a stinging rejection of his threats to make so-called sanctuary cities fall in line.


The judge, William H. Orrick of United States District Court, wrote that the president had overstepped his powers with his January executive order on immigration by tying billions of dollars in federal funding to immigration enforcement. Judge Orrick said only Congress could place such conditions on spending.

How will Trump and Sessions insult Judge Orrick?

The New York Times says more local law enforcement jurisdictions are backing down to Trump's wishes. I don't see it. When Trump invaded the Oval Office, there were only 37 law enforcement agencies in the country (among every local law enforcement agency in every town and city in America) who had an existing 287(g)agreement. Right now there are 38, according to ICE. Three agreements were signed after 1/20/17 (Two in North Carolina and one in Texas.)(Scroll down to "287(g) Results and Participating Entities" you can read each agreement and see the signatories at the same page.)

Personally, I think law enforcement has enough money and there are too many grants. I'd rather see the funds go to rehabilitative needs of inmates and to the residents of local communities. But that's not an option under a Trump/Sessions regime, and I do care about their attempt to blackmail and extort local law enforcement, which, in my personal opinion, is what their threat amounts to.

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    Oh boy, Trump is (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Wed Apr 26, 2017 at 11:34:36 AM EST
    in angry tweet mode (again/still):  "First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities. both ridiculous. See you in Supreme Court."  And, Reince plopped his contribution into the punch bowl: "another example of how the Ninth Circuit went bananas."

    Perhaps Trump and Reince can consult one of the well-oiled WH machine legal eagles, or put Jared on it, in his spare time. Starting with the fact that the ruling was by a federal district court judge. It is true that San Francisco/Santa Clara County fall under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, so maybe this is the best we can expect from Trump in the accuracy department.

    Moreover, this is a temporary injunction until the judge issues a broader ruling on the Executive Order's constitutionality.  However, a reading of the ruling does strongly suggest that S.F. and Santa Clara, the plaintiffs, will win and Trump will lose.

    The E.O. was so poorly crafted that you almost (just almost) feel for the government attorneys who had to defend it.

    Just what is a sanctuary jurisdiction?  Well, that was not clear, maybe all cities/counties are actually in compliance. None of its matters, said the government, it is really meaningless.  Just part of the "bully pulpit,"  intended to do no more than highlight the president's commitment to stronger immigration enforcement. No more than a a few small grants would be affected, and just grants from DOJ and Homeland Security. Just attaching new conditions to eligibility for grants. Not to worry, judge.

    The judge was not buying it. If it is meaningless, and only a few, little grants are involved, the judge wondered, "if that were true, what was the point?"  Besides, the DOJ does not include just grants by the DOJ, but covers grants for the country.  Oh, and Congress controls the purse, the president may not impose new conditions on federal funds to cities/counties.  Then, there is the matter of commandeering. The Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot compel states to administer a federal program, noted the judge, recalling the SC ruling that the federal government could not withhold Medicaid funding to force states to comply with Medicaid expansion as part of the ACA.  

    The judge added that the 10th Amendment restrictions on the power of the federal government require that the federal funds at stake be related to the particular policy, e.g., housing funds can't be yoked to immigration.

    It seems as if the sotto voce of the judge was there is a difference between bully pulpit and bullying.

    All briefs have been filed in the challenge (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 26, 2017 at 08:38:34 PM EST
    to Muslim Travel Ban 2.0 in the Fourth Circuit appeal of the Maryland injunction. All available from this page at the Court's website. The Court just announced that it has granted CSPAN's request to livestream the audio (but not video) of the oral arguments scheduled for May 8. Very rare for a federal court to allow that.