On the heels of legal victories last month, Santa Clara will on Wednesday ask a federal court to declare unconstitutional and permanently ban enforcement of an executive order de-funding “sanctuary” jurisdictions.
The county’s motion comes after a U.S. District Court judge upheld a preliminary injunction he previously granted blocking President Donald Trump’s executive order stripping Santa Clara County and other so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions” of federal funding.
Judge William Orrick also denied the federal government’s request to dismiss the county’s Feb. 3 lawsuit against the administration.
In a news release Wednesday, county officials called that “a historic victory that prohibited the Trump Administration from engaging in its blatantly unlawful effort to withhold federal funds from ‘sanctuary jurisdictions.’”
“The County of Santa Clara has a state-mandated duty to protect the health and safety of all its residents—and to set policies that best serve those interests,” said Dave Cortese, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “The Trump Administration has sought to use this Executive Order to bully local governments into abandoning that duty, in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution.”
“Today, we will ask the Court to make its preliminary injunction permanent,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams. “Only an enforceable judicial order permanently striking down the de-funding provision of the Executive Order can end this coercive and unconstitutional power grab.”
When Santa Clara County and San Francisco’s landmark motion for a preliminary injunction was upheld in July, it meant the section of the executive order applying to sanctuary jurisdictions could not go into effect until the court rules on the county’s Feb. 3 lawsuit against the administration.
During a court hearing in April, federal attorneys said they have no idea how President Trump’s executive order would actually work. They said the government at this point hasn’t identified any “sanctuary jurisdictions,” must less defined what the term means.
For Santa Clara County, there is $1.7 billion in federal funding at stake under the executive order, which Santa Clara County officials said covers critical health and social services.
In the Bay Area, sanctuary counties include San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Alameda as well as cities such as Oakland and San Jose. Though many local jurisdictions have never officially designated themselves “sanctuaries,” they have said they will not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement requirements that they turn over undocumented immigrants in their jail.
Staff writer Jason Green contributed to this report.