President Trump has had a longstanding commitment to withholding funds from sanctuary cities, those that do not comply with Federal Immigration law. That policy has taken a blow as Judge William Orrick denounced the Executive Order as unconstitutional and moved to permanently block it. The judge is the same one who originally blocked the move back in April this year.
The initial Executive Order looked to punish city authorities who chose not to respond or comply with “detainers” on illegal immigrants who have committed crimes in the United States. It sought to withhold funding earmarked for immigration enforcement programs.
After Judge Orrick had first put a stop on the order earlier this year, the government argued in appeals that the court had overstepped its authority in this matter. A Department of Justice spokesman, Devin O’Malley, said of the decision:
“The District Court exceeded its authority today when it barred the President from instructing his cabinet members to enforce existing law. The Justice Department will vindicate the President’s lawful authority to direct the executive branch.”
However, the Judge remained adamant that he was enforcing the interests of the constitution. In his written statement he declared:
“The defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing Section 9(a) of the Executive Order against jurisdictions they deem as sanctuary jurisdictions. Because Section 9(a) is unconstitutional on its face, and not simply in its application to the plaintiffs here, a nationwide injunction against the defendants other than President Trump is appropriate.”
The case began when San Francisco and Santa Clara County sued the administration for the potential loss of almost $2 billion in federal handouts directly linked to their dealings with illegal immigrants. Their case became a cause célèbre for those who support open borders and the principles of mass-immigration.
This is a clear case of the political interest of the courts being at odds with Executive authority. The actual existence of Sanctuary Cities has never been put to the public in a vote, and as such is neither mandated by the constitution nor by the citizens of the nation.
In fact, reports over the last two years have shown that people are leaving Sanctuary Cities in droves for areas that have a firmer line on dealing with illegal immigrant felons and a “fairer” tax program. Taxation in Sanctuary Cities is notoriously high for working families and small business owners, purportedly to pay for the housing, rehabilitation and legal fees of the aforementioned felons.
For now, the Executive Order lies dead. It is likely the President will choose to appeal the decision, but until then, Sanctuary Cities can continue to ignore immigration laws with impunity.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.