A federal judge has found that President Donald Trump’s executive order that cuts federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities that limit their cooperation with immigration authorities is unconstitutional.
According to CNN, US District Court Judge William Orrick permanently blocked Trump’s order from January, noting that Trump can’t set new conditions on spending that’s already approved by Congress. Specifically, the order violated the concept of separation of powers, and ran counter to the Fifth and Tenth Amendments.
Sanctuary cities limit how much they comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement when it comes to finding undocumented immigrants and deporting them — even if they aren’t wanted by local law enforcement. Critics of the order said that it discourages immigrants from reporting crimes for fear of their immigration status being discovered and taking precedent.
Orrick’s ruling on Monday applied to two lawsuits brought by California’s San Francisco and Santa Clara counties. He directly referenced comments by Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions when explaining his decision, reported The Washington Post.
“And if there was doubt about the scope of the Executive Order, the President and Attorney General erased it with their public comments,” Orrick said. “The President has called it ‘a weapon’ to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary reiterated that the President intends to ensure that ‘counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cities don’t get federal government funding in compliance with the executive order.’”
A Justice Department spokesperson said the ruling was judicial overreach and that the Justice Department would continue following the order anyway.
“The District Court exceeded its authority today when it barred the President from instructing his cabinet members to enforce existing law,” the spokesman said. “The Justice Department will vindicate the President’s lawful authority to direct the executive branch.”