Friday, April 14, 2017

Sanctuary Cities' Clash With Trump’s Lawyers In Federal Court

A Federal Judge today had tough questions about the Legality of President Trump’s Executive Order targeting so-called “Sanctuary” Jurisdictions, two of which are challenging the Administration’s threat to take away Federal Funding if they don’t Cooperate with its Immigration crackdown.

The City of San Francisco and the sprawling County of Santa Clara, the most populous in the San Francisco Bay Area, filed individual Lawsuits against Trump and the Government days after the President signed his January Decree. Now their Lawyers are urging U.S. District Judge William Orrick to prevent its Enforcement.

Lawyers for San Francisco and Santa Clara County asked the Judge to put Trump’s order On Hold, on the grounds that not doing so could cause their Clients “irreparable harm.” They said their Clients are at risk of losing vital Congressional Funding that was never explicitly conditioned on cooperating with the Federal Government on Immigration Enforcement.

“This coercion is a Hobson’s choice,” said noted Trial Attorney John Keker, who is representing Santa Clara County. “It’s a gun to your head. It exists right now in Santa Clara and in San Francisco and, we think, all around the country.”

There isn’t a clear-cut, widely accepted definition of what constitutes a Sanctuary City. The label can be merely aspirational and apply to Immigrant-Rich Communities, or it can denote Localities with Policies on the books that give benefits to Undocumented Immigrants. Most often, it’s applied to Jurisdictions that don’t cooperate fully with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, either because of concerns that would hurt other Policing efforts or because of concerns about the Constitutionality of holding Individuals they’d otherwise release.

Trump’s Executive Order defines the term narrowly: It covers only those Jurisdictions that “willfully refuse to comply with” a Provision of Federal Law that addresses how States and Localities share Immigrant Information with the Federal Government.

San Francisco and Santa Clara County contend that they’re already in Compliance with the Law and that the Trump Administration’s threats to withhold Funds that they rely on for Health Care, Social Services, and other Local priorities would Violate the Constitution if carried out.

Backing San Francisco and Santa Clara County in this fight are scores of other Local Jurisdictions, Immigrants’ Rights groups, and social Justice organizations that filed supporting Legal Briefs ahead of today’s Hearing. Many others vowed to do the same after the Executive Order was announced.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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