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US Judge Blocks Trump Order on Sanctuary Cities

FILE - Protesters hold up signs outside a courthouse where a federal judge hears arguments in a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's executive order to withhold funding from communities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities, in San Francisco, California, April 14, 2017.

A federal judge has further blocked the Trump administration's order to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities.

The move by U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick in San Francisco made permanent Monday his earlier ruling from April that temporarily stayed the order. Orrick agreed with plaintiffs who argued the order violates the constitution.

The city and county of San Francisco and Santa Clara County filed the suit.

“The Counties have demonstrated that the Executive Order has caused and will cause them constitutional injuries by violating the separation of powers doctrine and depriving them of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights,” Orrick wrote in his order.

The January 25 executive order called for federal funding to be withheld from sanctuary jurisdictions, and the judge said the president cannot put new conditions on money already allocated by Congress.

But the administration has argued that sanctuary cities, which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities to detain illegal immigrants arrested in criminal cases, often for minor offenses, pose a threat to the safety of their residents.

“Jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions last Wednesday, urging all jurisdictions "found to be potentially out of compliance" to reconsider "policies that undermine the safety of their residents. Sessions' statement accompanied a list 29 jurisdictions that the Justice Department says may be in violation of a statute that promotes immigration enforcement. The list includes both Santa Clara County and the city and county of San Francisco.

The city of Chicago has also sued the federal government over threats of cuts to funding. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the U.S. government from denying the public safety grants in September.