In summary

A federal judge just blocked President Trump’s executive order that would have kept federal funds from flowing to municipalities that consider themselves sanctuary cities.

A federal judge today blocked President Trump’s executive order that would have kept federal funds from flowing to municipalities that consider themselves sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.

San Francisco U.S. District Judge William Orrick III said the order is too broad, could bring “immediate irreparable harm” and could be challenged and most likely proven unconstitutional.

The preliminary injunction comes just days after the Justice Department threatened to stop funding for so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, including the state of California, if they did not prove they are cooperating with the federal immigration enforcement in finding and detaining undocumented immigrants.

Orrick, an Obama appointee, wrote that the Justice Department can withhold grants from cities or counties, but is prohibited from “violating the constitution” in its efforts to get compliance. He said there was a strong case that the executive order effectively commandeers local law enforcement resources without clearly defining what is required in order for jurisdictions to comply with the law.

The administration says cities and states, including many California jurisdictions, that act as sanctuaries are thwarting the law. It contends cooperation is vital to keep the country safe.

The move is being seen as another blow to Trump’s attempt to pressure regions through his executive order on immigration enforcement. The city of San Francisco and Santa Clara County argued that the threat of de-funding made it hard to plan their county budget. Other cities have also sued including Seattle and two cities in Massachusetts.

According to the state Attorney General’s office the order only applies to three Justice Department and Homeland Security Department grants.

Orrick ruled that the order, “by its plain language, attempts to reach all federal grants, not merely the three mentioned at the hearing.” He went on to say, “The rest of the order is broader still, addressing all federal funding. And if there was doubt about that scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments.”

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...