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Judge Keeps Injunction in Place on President's Order Against Sanctuary Cities

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 14, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not help President Trump's case against sanctuary cities that is playing out in San Francisco.

On Wednesday, Sessions gave a speech claiming sanctuary cities have more violent crime on average than those cities that cooperate with the president's campaign against illegal immigrants. On Thursday, a federal judge refused to lift an injunction against the president's order to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.

"The fundamental problem I see is, as found in my initial order, Section 9 of the executive order is unconstitutional," Judge William Orrick III said, notwithstanding Session's latest memo on the order. "The attorney general's memo can't change that."

"Protecting Criminals"

Under the president's order, the Justice Department and Homeland Security may withhold grants from jurisdictions that "willfully refuse" to comply with 8 U.S. Code § 1373. Sessions said the law requires local governments to place no restrictions on sharing an individual's immigration status with federal authorities.

But some 300 jurisdictions have refused to cooperate with immigration authorities regarding illegal aliens who commit crimes, Sessions said in his speech to law enforcement. "These jurisdictions are protecting criminals rather than their law-abiding residents," he said.

San Francisco was the first city to sue the the president over the order, which Trump issued six days after he was sworn into office. Santa Clara County followed suit.

Sessions Didn't Help

In court Wednesday, attorneys for the municipalities said they were concerned about the government's campaign. Sessions' speech didn't help.

"Public statements leave real fear and real cause for concern among sanctuary jurisdictions," Deputy City Attorney Mollie Lee said.

Meanwhile, the Republican-led House passed two bills to increase penalties for immigrants who re-enter the country illegally. The bills, which still require Senate approval, would also strip federal funds from sanctuary cities.

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