SEATTLE (AP) - A federal judge has rejected the Justice Department's efforts to have a lawsuit filed by Seattle and Portland, Oregon, over sanctuary city policies thrown out.
The cities filed the lawsuit over the Trump administration's threats to cut funding for jurisdictions that don't play ball on federal immigration enforcement priorities.
Those threats have already been blocked by a federal court in California, in a case brought by San Francisco and Santa Clara County.
The Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to throw out the lawsuit by Seattle and Portland, but he refused in a decision Thursday. He called the administration's threats "unconstitutionally coercive."
“The Executive Order fails to provide an adequate nexus between its immigration-related enforcement conditions and grants of funds, especially in light of evidence that Plaintiffs require federal funding for various essentials unrelated to immigration, including infrastructure, healthcare, and affordable housing,” Jones ruled.
Jones asked both sides to address whether he should delay further proceedings in the case, given that the California case raises similar issues and has already resulted in a nationwide injunction.
Seattle will receive more than $155 million from the federal government in 2017, while Portland will receive around $49 million.