Judge blocks Trump order to cut funding to sanctuary cities

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in San Francisco has blocked a Trump administration order to withhold funding from communities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities, also known as sanctuary cities.

San Francisco and Santa Clara County argued that it threatened billions of dollars in federal funding.

Related: Seattle announces lawsuit over Trump sanctuary cities threat

U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued the temporary ruling in the lawsuit on Tuesday. The decision will stay in place while the lawsuit moves through court.

Seattle also filed its own lawsuit last month.

Mayor Ed Murray said the order issued in January punishing "sanctuary cities" is unconstitutional and creates uncertainty around the city's budget.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned that the administration will punish communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally. Sessions said the cities are making their communities unsafe.

Murray challenged that claim.

"Apparently the Trump administration, their war on facts has now become a war on cities," Murray said during a news conference last month. "Let me be clear about the facts. We are not breaking any laws and we are prioritizing safety."

Under the order, Seattle could face at least $10.5 million in cuts to public safety programs, he said.

Murray said Trump's order violates the constitution by trying to make local law enforcement enforce federal immigration law.

The order also makes communities less safe by forcing people underground, said City Attorney Pete Holmes.

Seattle's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, asks a judge to declare that Seattle is in compliance with the law and that the executive order is unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment and the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition to Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Clara County, two Massachusetts cities with large Latino populations - Chelsea and Lawrence - have also taken legal action.