Tuesday evening, a federal judge in San Francisco issued an order blocking the federal government from attempting to cut off funding to so-called "Sanctuary Cities."
San Francisco is one of the 10 cities Attorney General Jeff Sessions has identified that have declined to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. Judge William Orrick issued a preliminary injunction, which has a nationwide effect.
"If there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments," he wrote in perhaps the most politically motivated court decision to date against the Trump administration's effort to rein in illegal immigration and to provide greater national security. "The Constitution vests the spending power in Congress, not the President, so the order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds."
The White House blasted the decision with the following statement:
"Today, the rule of law suffered another blow, as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our nation. Once again, a single district judge—this time in San Francisco—has ignored federal immigration law to set a new immigration policy for the entire country. This decision occurred in the same sanctuary city that released the five-time deported illegal immigrant who gunned down innocent Kate Steinle in her father's arms."
The Department of Justice can, however, enforce existing federal law and cut off grant funding that is contingent with cooperation in immigration enforcement. The president has been forced to use executive orders at a pace that far surpasses his predecessor, President Barack Obama—who had been criticized for using his "pen and a phone" throughout his presidency—because Congress has failed to move legislation consistent with his agenda.
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