A California federal judge has defied President Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities, upholding a restraining order he issued in April.
The judge’s decision means that there will be no funds cut off to cities because of their policies toward illegal aliens.
The bold move to not reinstate President Donald Trump’s executive order — which sought to slash funding to cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities — comes amid a battle between the State Department and local governments across the country over the edict from Washington.
The U.S. Department of Justice had asked U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick to reverse his own injunction in April against Trump’s executive order. The injunction was issued in response to lawsuits by San Francisco and Santa Clara County in California.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a memo in May saying the executive order should be applied narrowly to a small number of grants and to very specific violations of immigration law. The memo said cities that “willfully refuse to comply” with federal law could lose grants from the Justice and Homeland Security departments, but not other federal funding.
The Justice Department said the memo negated the need for Orrick’s injunction.
Orrick said he found Sessions’ memo unconvincing, asserting it would allow the attorney general to reverse his stand at any moment.
The judge’s injunction stops enforcement of the executive order across the country, and allows the lawsuits to go forward.
And Orrick’s refusal to reverse it strikes another blow to Trump’s attempt to punish cities that give safe haven to those in the country illegally.
On Friday, Sessions is scheduled to visit Philadelphia, where officials have said its local law enforcement will not act as immigration agents — a stance Sessions has challenged as unconstitutional.
During a speech to law enforcement officials in Las Vegas, Sessions recently singled out Philadelphia, saying the City of Brotherly Love is “advertising” its policy and “protecting criminals.”
What’s to be done? If cities are not going to enforce the law, ICE will. The acting ICE director says he will flood those cities with federal agents and there’s nothing local authorities can do to stop him.
ICE currently has more than 20,000 employees in 400 offices across the country as well as agents in 46 countries. It has an operating budget of about $6 billion. Adding another 10,000 employees, as President Trump has indicated he wants, will cost millions.
For example, in fiscal 2017, ICE requested $6.6 million to hire 100 new officers.
An ICE spokesperson told Fox News there is no specific operational plan or timetable in place yet but that the agency will focus new resources that come their way on places that don’t cooperate with detainer requests.
“As Director Homan stated, uncooperative jurisdictions have a higher rate of criminal alien releases than in places that honor ICE detainers,” the ICE official told Fox News. “As a result, ICE is forced to focus additional resources to conduct at-large arrests in the field in these non-cooperative areas.”
The requests, sometimes called immigration holds, are a vital tool the agency uses to go after illegal immigrants. The detainer asks local authorities to hold a person in jail up to 48 hours beyond when he or she is set to be released so federal officials can take them into custody.
The crackdown on sanctuary cities lines up with Trump’s promised prioritization of the issue on the campaign trail. Members of his administration have repeatedly tried to link violent crime to illegal immigration – though mayors of sanctuary cities across the country have pushed back on that assertion.
“Actually, cities like Austin (Texas) are safer and have better economies,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement. “ICE should be figuring out why that’s true and applying those lessons.”
I’m all for taking federalism as far as it will go, but this is a matter of national security. The cities that thumb their nose at the law can continue to posture and curry favor with the Hispanic community. Meanwhile, ICE will hire 10,000 agents in the next few years and target the cities for federal enforcement of federal law.
What’s a judge going to do? Tell a federal agency they can’t send employees anywhere in the U.S. they want to?
There is nothing clearer in the Constitution than the notion that Congress makes immigration law — period. Any judge that rules otherwise needs to be impeached. It is not up to cities or individual states to make up their own immigration policies. If they don’t like it, they should work to elect representatives who reflect their views.
Otherwise, shut up and obey the law.