Trump Administration Wants Sanctuary City Ruling Reconsidered After Memo

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The Trump administration will not go after all federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, the Justice Department announced Monday - an acknowledgment that making good on such a threat would likely have been impossible.

In a court filing, the Justice Department said new legal guidance from the attorney general on Monday contradicted Orrick's reasons for granting the injunction. The AG did not rule out naming and shaming more places that he says undermine the lawful system of immigration. That suggests officials could seek ways to withhold money from communities that refuse to honor detainer requests from federal immigration authorities.

Orrick appeared to address the administration's arguments in his April ruling.

In a brief one-and-a-half-page memo, Sessions outlined his new instructions for charging decisions in federal cases, saying that his new first principle is "that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense".

Sessions' memo came almost a month after a federal judge in California halted Trump's initial attempt to strip funding from sanctuary cities, saying that only Congress, not the president, could impose new conditions on federal grants.

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"The rapid downward trajectory of civil rights enforcement under United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his first 100 days in office can not be ignored", Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said in a statement.

For example, in a 2012 drug conspiracy case involving some 35 defendants, an assistant US attorney put Damien Mick "on notice" that if he sought to be released pending trial she would file an 851 motion subjecting him to a minimum 20-year sentence upon conviction, telling the court: "It's a hard and fast provision I have in these types of cases", according to the court transcript. It sent warning letters to nine localities in April, though most of the cities that received them denied being out of compliance.

Some cities remained defiant after the Monday memo.

The motion comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo outlining the Trump administration's definition of a sanctuary city and what funding is at risk of being cut by the executive order.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the memo "doesn't change the constitutional problems of the executive order". "The federal government can't hold a gun to the head of cities and counties and force them to spend their limited police resources on immigration enforcement".

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