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Federal Court blocks enforcement of President Trump's "sanctuary city" executive order

We previously mentioned on this blog that President Trump's executive order authorizing the defunding of sanctuary cities was hit with its first blow in court when a federal judge recognized that the city of San Francisco, as well as Santa Clara County, had standing to proceed with the legal challenge. Now, the federal judge handling the case has blocked the enforcement of the order while the case is tried.

As we've previously noted, the federal Illegal Immigration Reform Act of 1996 forbids state and local governments from prohibiting or restricting the transfer or receipt of information about an individual's citizenship or immigration status to or from federal authorities. This law formed part of the basis for the order. The problem, according to the court, though, is that the order did not provide clarity about what exactly constitutes a sanctuary jurisdiction and what funds would be cut.

The decision is the third time now that a federal court has stayed enforcement of one of President Trump's immigration orders. The injunction does prevent the Trump Administration from cutting funding to sanctuary cities, but it does not prevent the federal government from enforcing conditions on federal grants or from establishing a definition for sanctuary jurisdictions. In other words, the President is not allowed to establish new conditions on funding already approved by Congress.  

To be clear, the decision did not rule on the constitutionality of the order, and this issue will be left open until the case is fully heard. We'll have to wait and see how that issue is handled.

Immigrants who currently reside in sanctuary cities, of course, need to understand their legal rights and work with an experienced attorney to protect them. This is particularly important when the threat of deportation arises. A skilled advocate can help ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect such an immigrant's rights. 

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