Santa Clara County asks judge to block Trump Sanctuary order

Santa Clara County asked a federal court today to grant a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking an executive order by President Donald Trump that would deny federal funds to sanctuary cities, counties and states.

The motion was filed today as part of a Feb. 3 lawsuit in which the county challenged Trump's Jan. 25 executive order.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick is scheduled to hold a hearing on the motion on April 5.

The county's filing alleges that Trump's order is "patently unconstitutional."

The executive order "usurps and expands Congress's spending power in a naked effort to coerce state and local governments, including plaintiff County of Santa Clara, into enforcing the Trump Administration's immigration agenda," county lawyers wrote.

Trump's order would withhold federal funding from local governments that are deemed "sanctuary jurisdictions" because they shield undocumented immigrants from deportation by federal authorities.

The county's motion argues that only Congress has the power to determine federal funding and that the order illegally requires local governments to enforce a federal regulatory program.

The order "brazenly disregards fundamental principles of federalism and separation of powers that define our republican government," the motion says.

The filing says the county last year received $1.7 billion in federal or federal dependent funds, or 35 percent of its total revenue. It says withholding those funds would cause "immediate and devastating injury" to county residents.

A U.S. Justice Department spokesman was not immediately available to comment. The department is due to file a reply to the injunction request by March 9.