U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick will hold a hearing today on requests by San Francisco and Santa Clara County for an injunction preventing the Administration from sanctioning sanctuary cities. The local governments are seeking standing to sue even though the Administration has not suspended federal funds for their or other jurisdictions.
The sanctuary city executive order charges the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security with cutting off federal grants to local governments which fail to cooperate with federal immigration officials. The order did not define the type of grants that could be suspended, although it did exclude those for law enforcement purposes.
San Francisco and Santa Clara County claim the threat of sanctions makes it difficult to plan their budgets. They also assert the president does not have authority to cut off federal funds and cannot force local officials to enforce federal immigration law.
The Justice Department argues the jurisdictions do not have standing because sanction decisions have yet to be made. Government attorneys also say the order is consistent with existing government authority to terminate or suspend such money.
Meanwhile the Administration is urging Congress to use the must-pass spending bill to clarify its authority to sanctions sanctuary entities. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney this week said, “Elections have consequences. The president needs to see his priorities funded if he’s going to be participating in signing these bills.”
But Politico reports Mulvaney’s push threatens to disrupt bipartisan budget negotiations underway. Democrats call the sanctuary city provision a “poison pill” that would cause a government shutdown. Sources told Politico that senior Republicans on the Appropriations Committee are trying to exclude sanctuary sanctions from the bill. The continuing resolution currently funding the federal government expires on April 28th.
Updated: Fri, Apr 14th 2017 @ 1:50pm EDT