A federal judge said Wednesday he is not likely to reinstate President Donald Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick said during a hearing on Wednesday that he was “very much inclined” to deny the Trump administration’s request that he reconsider his order in light of a recent memo by the attorney general.
Orrick said the memo cannot address a key problem he raised about the executive order, only the president could.
The memo issued in May reasserts the department’s position that Trump’s executive order applies to a relatively small amount of money. The Trump administration says it undercuts Orrick’s decision to block the executive order.
That ruling in April found the order was written broadly to “reach all federal grants” and potentially jeopardized hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for two California counties that sued to stop it — San Francisco and Santa Clara.
Brett Shumate, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, told Orrick Wednesday the attorney general’s memo removes any “irreparable harm” to San Francisco and Santa Clara, so they don’t have authority to sue right now. They are not facing the loss of much funding and have not been designated sanctuary cities, he said.
Mollie Lee, an attorney for San Francisco, cited comments by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Las Vegas on Wednesday in which he mentioned San Francisco in a discussion about sanctuary cities.
“There really is no question in San Francisco’s mind that there is a credible threat of enforcement here,” she said.
Sessions told a group of law enforcement officials gathered in Las Vegas that “too often” cooperation from local agencies with federal immigration officials has been impeded by the policies of “a lot of cities, councils and mayors.”
“When cities like Philadelphia, Boston or San Francisco advertise that they have these policies, the criminals are taking notice, too,” he said. “They got a good idea where they might want to go it seems to me.”