The Trump Administration is 0-3 in federal court following the president's attempts to control immigration policy through executive order. His travel ban was struck down in both forms, and now Trump's attempt to strip sanctuary cities of funding has been blocked too. That's another win for the resistance from one point of view, but the White House's response is nearly worse than the lawsuit in the first place. It not only goes after the cities themselves, but also against the entire judicial system.
The statement from the press secretary's office basically accuses cities of taking the side of "the criminal and gang element" in the country, but even worse, it singles out the judge who blocked the order:
Once again, a single district judge — this time in San Francisco — has ignored Federal immigration law to set a new immigration policy for the entire country. This decision occurred in the same sanctuary city that released the 5-time deported illegal immigrant who gunned down innocent Kate Steinle in her father's arms. San Francisco, and cities like it, are putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens, and those city officials who authored these policies have the blood of dead Americans on their hands.
And it goes on, accusing the judge of giving a "gift to the criminal gang and cartel element in our country, empowering the worst kind of human trafficking and sex trafficking, and putting thousands of innocent lives at risk." That kind of inflammatory language cannot be good for health of the judicial system which gives our system stability and controls excesses of both the executive branch and Congress.
Singling out a judge seems to be one of Trump's favorite ways to apply pressure when a case isn't going his way. He did so during the campaign when Judge Gonzalo Curiel was hearing the Trump University case, questioning his impartiality due to his Mexican heritage. Now, this judge's decision-making is being questioned due to geography and the fact he was appointed (and confirmed by Congress). "This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge," the statement reads.
The ruling blocked an executive order that Trump signed on Jan. 25. "Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States," the order read. "These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic." Dramatic, right? Sounds a bit harsh for the tolerant economic centers of the country like San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City.
The order's main attempted policy change was to withhold money from the cities for not handing over immigrants without papers for deportation; that's what the judge blocked Tuesday. The Justice Department may still, however, be able to hold back money that is specifically tied to immigration and is offered with conditions.
The ACLU sees this as a win. "Once again, Trump has overreached and lost," the group's national political director, Faiz Shakir, said in a statement. And while that might be true, we need the judicial system to be safe from gross politicization. In my opinion, the White House needs to retract this statement and apologize to the many federal judges who do their jobs in service of this country and its Constitution.