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Federal Judge Permanently Blocks Trump’s Executive Order On Sanctuary Cities

In a scathing ruling, a federal judge has permanently blocked US President Donald Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with US immigration authorities, CNN reports

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick issued the ruling on Monday in lawsuits brought by two California counties, San Francisco and Santa Clara. The judge said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.

The ruling nullifies the executive order Trump signed in January, shortly after taking office, which was designed to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities,” municipalities that do not comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests for assistance with identifying and deporting undocumented immigrants.

The cities of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are among the cities that have refused to comply with Trump’s mass deportation plan.

The order was designed to “strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants,” according to then-press secretary Sean Spicer. The executive order immediately prompted a court challenge, first by San Francisco and followed by other counties including Santa Clara.

“This is a victory for the American people and the rule of law,” San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “This executive order was unconstitutional before the ink on it was even dry.

“We live in a democracy. No one is above the law, including the president,” he added, according to CNN.

The idea for sanctuary cities appears to have sprung out of churches in the 1980s that provide sanctuary to Central Americans fleeing violence at home amid reluctance by the federal government to grant them refugee status.

They became popular in more diverse locales to counter what officials there saw as overzealous federal immigration policies, particularly against those arrested for minor, non-violent crimes.

“San Francisco is a sanctuary city and will not waiver in its commitment to protect the rights of all its residents,” San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said in January, upon announcing an expansion to a city fund to provide legal services to the immigrant community, documented or otherwise.

Chicago has set up a similar fund, as has Los Angeles.

“Chicago has in the past been a sanctuary city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in November, according to the Sun-Times. “It always will be a sanctuary city.”

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