One of President Donald Trump's campaign promises was to crack down on illegal immigration. Part of upholding that policy position meant cracking down on "sanctuary cities," those cities who refuse to cooperate with immigration and customs enforcement (ICE). In order to force cities, especially in largely populated areas, to cooperate with ICE, Trump threatened to pull federal funding from cities who shielded illegal aliens.
Now, the Courts may force the Trump administration to rethink their immigration strategy.
A U.S. District Court judge on Wednesday ruled that part of President Trump's sanctuary city funding policy is unconstitutional.
According to Judge Richard Jones, an appointee of President George W. Bush, the Trump administration cannot withhold federal funding from Portland and Seattle because they deem themselves to be a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants.
Jones said "it would be unconstitutional for Executive Branch agencies to withhold appropriated funds" because Congress has not tied any kind of compliance to said funding.
A similar ruling was made in August when a federal judge said the State Department cannot put these kind of stipulations on cities and counties. In order to make this kind of move, the Trump administration would need Congressional authorization.
"Absent congressional authorization, the administration may not redistribute or withhold properly appropriated funds in order to effectuate its own policy goals," Chief Judge Sidney Thomas wrote back in August.
Seattle initially filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he announced their plans to pull funding from sanctuary cities.