A federal judge in San Francisco Thursday denied a request by President Donald Trump's administration to lift an injunction blocking the president's executive order on sanctuary cities.
U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick's decision reaffirms his order from April that bars the administration from enforcing most of Trump's executive order seeking to deny federal funds to cities and counties considered to be sanctuary cities.
The Justice Department argued the injunction was not needed because a two-page memo by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions clarified and narrowed the executive order.
"I conclude that the (memo) is functionally an 'illusory promise' to enforce the executive order narrowly and, as such, does not resolve the constitutional claims that the counties have brought based on the order's language," Orrick wrote in his decision.
Orrick also denied a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss the lawsuits against the executive order filed by San Francisco and Santa Clara counties.
"Once again, the District Court has sent a message to President Trump that he cannot use the threat of withholding funds to coerce local governments into becoming federal immigration operatives," President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors David Cortese said in a statement Thursday.
Forty-eight cities and counties nationwide joined in a friend-of-the-court brief urging Orrick to keep the injunction in place.
"The Trump administration tried to use a two-page memo from the attorney general as window dressing to cover a patently unconstitutional executive order. It didn't work," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement Thursday. "The law doesn't allow the administration to do what it's trying to do, and no memo from Jeff Sessions is going to change that."