- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

President Trump and his top aides have lashed out at the federal court that blocked his anti-sanctuary city executive order, with the president calling the ruling “ridiculous” and his press secretary saying sanctuaries like San Francisco have “the blood of dead Americans on their hands.”

Mr. Trump vowed Wednesday to fight the case all the way to the Supreme Court, dismissing the new ruling as the latest errant decision from the country’s most liberal judicial circuit.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the ruling Tuesday by U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick bungled federal immigration law and undercuts Americans’ faith in government.

“This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge,” Mr. Spicer said in a scorching statement. “But we are confident we will ultimately prevail in the Supreme Court, just as we will prevail in our lawful efforts to impose immigration restrictions necessary to keep terrorists out of the United States.”

The stern reaction from the White House is all the more striking because it departs from the Justice Department, which took a more positive approach toward Judge Orrick’s decision.

Department spokesman Ian D. Prior said rather than blocking Mr. Trump, the key part of Tuesday’s ruling endorsed the administration’s current approach to sanctuary cities, clearing the way for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to withhold funding under three key grant programs.

Judge Orrick, who sits in San Francisco, ruled that Mr. Trump overstepped his bounds by trying to impose new restrictions on federal grants issued to states, counties and cities that refuse to cooperate with federal deportation agents.

The judge said Congress, not Mr. Trump, has the power of the purse and gets to decide what strings are attached.

Judge Orrick issued an injunction against part of Mr. Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order threatening to withhold potentially tens of billions of dollars from sanctuary cities. But the judge said in instances where Congress has already approved strings — such as the three Justice Department programs — Mr. Trump can withhold the money.

The Justice Department said those programs — the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, COPS funding and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program — were the ones they had planned to target anyway.

Mr. Spicer said the judge was ignoring that federal law and the powers it granted to the administration.

He also attacked Santa Clara and San Francisco, the two counties in California that had sued to halt Mr. Trump’s executive order.

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,” Mr. Spicer said.

San Francisco became the chief target in the sanctuary city debate after the 2015 slaying of Kate Steinle. The man standing trial for her killing is an illegal immigrant shielded from deportation by the city’s policies.

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