Judge quotes Trump in decision to block "sanctuary cities" funding order

In this Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Moina Shaiq holds a sign at a rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) In this Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Moina Shaiq holds a sign at a rally outside of City Hall in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

For the third time in two months, a federal judge has knocked down an immigration order by President Donald Trump and used Trump's own language against him.

In a ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick quoted Trump to support his decision to block the president's order to withhold funding from "sanctuary cities" that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration officials.

Advertisement

Trump called the sanctuary cities order a "weapon" against communities that disagree with his preferred immigration policy, Orrick said. The judge also cited a February interview in which he said the president threatened to cut off funding to California, saying the state "in many ways is out of control."

The first comment was evidence that the administration intended the executive order to apply broadly to all sorts of federal funding, and not a relatively small pot of grant money as the Department of Justice had argued, the judge said.

The second statement showed the two California governments that sued to block the order—San Francisco and Santa Clara County—had good reason to believe they would be targeted, Orrick said.

Orrick's ruling was another immigration policy setback for the administration as it approaches its 100th day in office later this month. The sanctuary city order was among a flurry of immigration measures Trump signed in January, including a ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and a directive calling for a wall on the Mexican border.

Trump reacted to the decision on Twitter on Wednesday morning, calling the decision "ridiculous" and saying he would take his fight to the highest court, tweeting: "See you in the Supreme Court."

Trump tweeted: "First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings."

Trump tweeted that the 9th circuit has "a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80 percent)."

He said, "They used to call this 'judge shopping!' Messy system." That was apparently a reference to the 9th circuit's liberal reputation and rulings that have often irked conservatives."

Trump's words were also cited by federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii, who last month blocked his revised ban on new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii and U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland said comments by Trump supported the allegation that the ban was aimed at Muslims.

Orrick's preliminary injunction against the sanctuary cities order will stay in place while the lawsuits by San Francisco and Santa Clara work their way through court.

The government hasn't cut off any money yet or declared any communities sanctuary cities. But the Justice Department sent letters last week advising communities to prove they are in compliance. California was informed it could lose $18.2 million.

Orrick said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.

Even if the president could do so, those conditions would have to be clearly related to the funds at issue and not coercive, as the executive order appeared to be, Orrick said.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus described the ruling as another example of the "9th Circuit going bananas."

The administration has often criticized the 9th circuit. Orrick does not sit on that court but his district is in the territory of the appeals court, which has ruled against one version of Trump's travel ban.

"The idea that an agency can't put in some reasonable restriction on how some of these moneys are spent is something that will be overturned eventually, and we will win at the Supreme Court level at some point," Priebus said.

The Trump administration says sanctuary cities allow dangerous criminals back on the street and that the order is needed to keep the country safe. San Francisco and other sanctuary cities say turning local police into immigration officers erodes the trust that is needed to get people to report crime.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised the ruling and said the president was "forced to back down."

"This is why we have courts—to halt the overreach of a president and an attorney general who either don't understand the Constitution or chose to ignore it," Herrera said in a statement.

___

Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman and Julie Bykowicz in Washington contributed to this story.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Stuart Meisenzahl
10 months ago

The article Headline inadvertently reveals the legal error in this decision. Statements made outside of the scope of the litigation...."the legality of the order"....are irrelevant and are not suppose to be used by a judge as a consideration in reaching his decision.
This is not a criminal matter where intent is an element of the procedure.
This is a pure matter of law as to the power of the President granted under the applicable statutes and the legality of the exercise of that power.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Asia Bibi's husband and her daughter Eisham arrive in the Vatican prior to a private meeting with Pope Francis. (Credit: Vatican News)
The pope said Rebecca Bitrus and Asia Bibi are models for a society that today has ever more fear of suffering.
Gerard O’ConnellFebruary 24, 2018
(Nick Ansell/PA via AP, archive)
Recent allegations about one of the United Kingdom’s biggest and best-known charities has driven increased demands from some quarters that overseas aid be reduced, if not abolished completely.
David StewartFebruary 23, 2018
Students who walked out of classes from Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland protest against gun violence in front of the White House on Feb. 21 in Washington. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)
The desire for stronger gun control may not translate into more caution with gun storage among owners of firearms.
Kevin ClarkeFebruary 23, 2018
Of the estimated 14.5 million school-age Catholic children in the U.S., about or 55 percent are Latino. Yet 4 percent of school-age Latino Catholic children are enrolled in Catholic schools.
Maria Luisa TorresFebruary 23, 2018