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Judge blocks White House bid to strip SF funding over immigration enforcement

Trump is using the withholding of funding as a weapon against cities that disagree with his policies, says judge

Trump signing papers in the Oval Office.
Trump signs an executive order in January. (Note that this is not the same order in contention today.)

Today a federal judge ruled against President Donald Trump’s bid to withhold funds from cities with so-called “sanctuary policies,” favoring San Francisco and Santa Clara County in a pair of lawsuits challenging the White House’s order.

In January, President Trump resolved to keep roughly $1.2 billion from San Francisco because the city refused to cooperate with federal immigration officials to detain undocumented immigrants. The city responded by suing. Santa Clara County did the same in February.

Among other constitutional complaints, City Attorney Dennis Herrera challenged the White House by citing the Tenth Amendment, arguing that since the city is following all relevant laws the federal government lacks the power to compel beyond that.

In City and County of San Francisco v Donald J. Trump and City and County of Santa Clara v Donald J. Trump (copies provided here by the Huffington Post’s Mollie Reilly), Judge William H Orrick referenced public statements by Trump himself:

If there was doubt about the scope of the Order, the President and Attorney General have erased it with their public comments.

The President has called it “a weapon” to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary has reiterated that the President intends to ensure that “counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cites don’t get federal government funding. [...]

The Counties [...] have demonstrated that they have standing to challenge the Order and are currently suffering irreparable harm, not only because the Order has caused and will cause them constitutional injuries by violating the separation of powers doctrine and depriving them of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights, but also because the Order has caused budget uncertainty by threatening to deprive the Counties of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants that support core services.

In the end, Orrick determined that “Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.”

The administration had argued that the city lacked standing to challenge the order at all, claiming that only a small percentage of the allegedly threatened funds were in any danger.

Update: The White House issued to following statement in response to the ruling.