Constitutional Law

Judge permanently blocks Trump's sanctuary cities order, while Sessions announces point-based grants

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A federal judge on Monday issued a permanent injunction that blocks President Donald Trump’s order denying funds to sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate in immigration enforcement.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick of San Francisco said the order placing new conditions on federal funds violates the separation of powers, the 10th Amendment’s ban on conscription of local jurisdictions, and the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause. The Washington Post , the Associated Press, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Volokh Conspiracy have stories. The decision is here (PDF).

Orrick had previously issued a preliminary injunction in the suit filed by the city and county of San Francisco and Santa Clara County.

Orrick said Attorney General Jeff Sessions wasn’t credible when he interpreted the executive order narrowly in a May memo. Sessions said then that the order would apply only to federal grants administered by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He also defined sanctuary cities as those that willfully refuse to comply with a federal law requiring local jurisdictions to share immigration status information with federal authorities.

Orrick said the memo was “nothing more than an illusory promise to enforce the executive order narrowly.” The only way to fix the constitutional problems with the order would be to amend it, Orrick said.

Orrick noted that Trump had called his executive order “a weapon” to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his immigration enforcement policies, erasing any doubt about the scope of the executive order.

On the same day Orrick issued his ruling, Sessions announced $98 million in community-policing grants to 179 law enforcement agencies—including some jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with the federal government in immigration detention, report Mother Jones and BuzzFeed News.

Sessions said 80 percent of grantees had received extra points in the application scoring process by certifying they were willing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities within their detention facilities. Cooperation could include providing access to detention facilities for interviews of detainees who are in the country illegally and providing advance notice before such immigrants are released from custody.

Some cities are at a disadvantage in the points process because they use county jails as detention facilities, according to BuzzFeed.

Chicago, a sanctuary city that sued over the executive order, was among the grantees.

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