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November 28, 2017 > Sanctuary restrictions blocked

Sanctuary restrictions blocked

Submitted By Maria Leticia Gomez/Marina Hinestrosa

In a historic ruling, November 20, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick declared unconstitutional the key provision of the Trump AdministrationÕs Executive Order targeting Òsanctuary jurisdictions,Ó and permanently enjoined its enforcement nationwide. Lawyers from the Santa Clara County CounselÕs Office and its outside counsel, Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP, argued the case before Judge Orrick on Monday, October 23. The court, in April, issued a preliminary injunction blocking the provision. TodayÕs ruling makes that order permanent.

The County of Santa Clara was the first jurisdiction in the nation to seek emergency injunctive relief based on the immediate harms and unconstitutional coercion caused by Executive Order 13768, which President Trump issued on January 25, 2017. The Executive Order purported to grant Trump Administration officials the power to declare state and local governments Òsanctuary jurisdictions,Ó and to deny them federal funding or take other enforcement actions against them on that basis.

As a direct result of the executive order, the County of Santa Clara risked losing roughly $1.7 billion in federal fundsÑrepresenting nearly 35% of its annual revenueÑfor critical County services such as medical care, urgent mental health services, public safety, and basic food and nutrition programs.

County Counsel and Keker, Van Nest & Peters lawyers argued that the order violated basic separation of powers principles, coerced local jurisdictions into acting as federal immigration enforcement officers, and denied due process. Today, the court agreed, and granted summary judgment on all of the CountyÕs claims.

ÒThis is a historic victory, protecting residents of the County and jurisdictions across the nation from President Donald TrumpÕs unconstitutional abuse of power,Ó said County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese. ÒOur County will continue to welcome and embrace all people, no matter how much this Administration tries to threaten or divide us.Ó

ÒThis is a clear rebuke of the Trump AdministrationÕs illegal effort to take away federal funding for critical County health, safety, and emergency services,Ó said County Counsel James R. Williams. ÒTodayÕs decision vindicates a core constitutional principleÑthat the President cannot use federal funding to threaten local governments.Ó

Twenty amicus briefs were submitted in support of the CountyÕs motion for a permanent injunction. Combined, the amicus briefs represent a diverse group of individual and entities, including the State of California and other States; cities, counties, sheriffs and police chiefs from around the United States; California community colleges and school districts representing over one million California students; civil rights, immigrantÕs rights, and LGBTQ rights groups; unions; law scholars, non-profit service providers; faith-based organizations; and technology companies.

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