Federal judge blocks the Trump administration from withholding funds for sanctuary cities

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Trump is accusing political opponents of "judge shopping" - more commonly called "forum shopping", a colloquial term for the practice of searching for a judge who will grant a favorable outcome - in order to get cases heard by the 9th Circuit.

"Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement can not be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves", he stated.

US District Judge William Orrick issued the preliminary injunction in two lawsuits on Tuesday - one brought by the city of San Francisco, the other by Santa Clara County - against an executive order targeting communities that protect immigrants from deportation.

"First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban (and) now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings".

He also wrote that the Ninth Circuit "has a awful record of being overturned (close to 80%)", and accused plaintiffs in the latest case of "judge-shopping" by filing their suits in the circuit's nine-state region.

It's the third time in two months that a federal judge has put the brakes on Trump's immigration initiative while using the president's rhetoric against him.

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Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said Tuesday that the judge "upheld" the government's ability to withhold some federal funding against sanctuary cities.

In a scathing statement, the White House said Judge William Orrick's decision to block Trump's executive order to defund sanctuary cities is "a gift to criminal gangs and cartels".

"We're taking action to appeal this", he added. "No more funding", Mr. Trump said on the campaign trail.

Elsewhere, Texas Republicans on Wednesday were poised to take a step toward banning sanctuary cities in their state, debating a bill through which police chiefs and sheriffs could be jailed for not cooperating fully with federal immigration authorities.

Orrick in his ruling cited comments that had been made by Trump as well as by Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Attorney General, to reach the conclusion that the executive order was meant to be broader than federal law allowed.

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That ruling, and another suspending his ban on travel from certain majority-Muslim countries, both involved federal judges in California. "We'll win at the Supreme Court level at some point".

Trump called his order a "weapon" against communities that disagree with his preferred immigration policy, Orrick said.

The district judge's ruling was in response to lawsuits that had been filed by Santa Clara County and City of San Francisco.

Trump's first Supreme Court appointee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, started work last week.

Trump was referring to the rate of cases that the Supreme Court has overturned by the Ninth Circuit - but that figure only pertains to the small fraction of cases that the high court chooses to review.

In the statement, the White House suggested that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is biased against Trump.

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The Justice Department threatened last week to cut some funding to California as well as eight cities and counties across the United States.

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