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As Congress moves forward with immigration reform, we take a look at how this issue connects to culture, business and families in the Northwest.Our region is home to a unique blend of immigrants who work in all parts of our economy — from high-tech to agriculture. This population already has a deeply-rooted history here. And its ranks are expanding rapidly.Proposals for comprehensive immigration reform address border security, employment verification, guest-worker programs and pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the US.

Blocked again: Federal judge halts Trump's order on sanctuary cities

Protesters gather outside a San Francisco courthouse hearing of the first lawsuit challenging President Trump's executive order to withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities, April 14, 2017.
AP Photo/Haven Daley
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Protesters gather outside a San Francisco courthouse hearing of the first lawsuit challenging President Trump's executive order to withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities, April 14, 2017.

A federal district court judge in San Francisco has blocked the White House from withholding federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities, which includes Seattle. 

U.S.District Judge William Orrick called Executive Order 13768 vague and broad. The order, signed in January, threatens to withhold federal money from cities and counties that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies.

The ruling stems from lawsuits filed by Santa Clara County and the city of San Francisco. Both jurisdictions argued the executive order would cause irreparable harm, creating budget uncertainties. Santa Clara and San Francisco also argued that the order conscripts counties into carrying out federal immigration law.

“The ruling is good news,” Michael Ryan said, assistant city attorney in the Seattle City Attorney’s office. Seattle also challenged the executive order late last month on similar grounds. Ryan says what this means for Seattle’s case remains to be seen.

“The government has the possibility that it could appeal,” he said. “So I think it’s going to take a little bit of time for that to play out.”

The administration has said the executive order protects public safety by keeping dangerous criminals out of the streets. Local enforcement say the policy would discourage immigrants from reporting crime.

In addition to Seattle, two Massachusetts cities, and the city of Richmond in the San Francisco Bay Area have challenged the executive order in court. 

Year started with KUOW: 1994