A federal judge in San Francisco blocked President Trump’s directive seeking to deny federal funding to “sanctuary cities” and other localities that decline to cooperate in enforcement of federal immigration laws, Politico reports. U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick issued a preliminary injunction barring federal officials from carrying out the portion of a Jan. 25 Trump executive order. Orrick cited public comments from Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in concluding that the order appeared intended to sweep more broadly than allowed by federal law. The judge called “not legally plausible” the Justice Department’s arguments that Trump was simply trying to secure compliance with current law.
“The Constitution vests the spending power in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds,” Orrick said. The White House said “an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our nation,” adding that the ruling was issued “in the same sanctuary city that released the 5-time deported illegal immigrant who gunned down innocent Kate Steinle in her father’s arms.” The decision was another high-profile blow to Trump’s efforts use of executive orders to carry out major policy moves— a drive his staff is highlighting as he approaches the 100-days-in-office mark. Courts have also blocked key portions of two of the president’s other immigration-related executive orders — his travel bans on citizens of several majority Muslim countries.