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A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unconstitutional provisions of a presidential executive order that penalize sanctuary cities. The court, however, vacated a nationwide injunction imposed by a lower court and enjoined the Administration from withholding funds only for the plaintiff cities in the case. The ruling enables the Administration to block funding for entities deemed to be sanctuary cities if they are not part of the other pending sanctuary lawsuits.

In upholding the lower court ruling, the panel held “that, under the principle of Separation of
Powers and in consideration of the Spending Clause, which vests exclusive power to Congress to impose conditions on federal grants, the Executive Branch may not refuse to disperse the federal grants in question without congressional authorization. Because Congress has not acted, the panel affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the City and County of San Francisco and the County of Santa Clara. However, given the absence of specific findings underlying the nationwide application of the injunction, the panel vacated the nationwide injunction and remanded for reconsideration and further findings.”

In January 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that sought to enhance interior enforcement. Among other things, it prohibited any jurisdiction that fails to comply with 8 U.S.C. Section 1373 from receiving federal funds. That law prohibits government entities from themselves prohibiting the sharing of “information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” Although the 9th Circuit did not rule on the constitutionality of that statute, a Chicago-based federal judge last month struck down U.S.C. Section 1373 in a case involving the City of Chicago. That ruling also was limited to the plaintiff in the case.

For more on this story, see The Washington Times.

Updated: Wed, Aug 15th 2018 @ 5:25pm EDT