Donald Trump

Judge Dismisses Richmond’s Lawsuit Against Trump Executive Order

Lawsuits in Santa Clara County and San Francisco are still ongoing

Trump Afghanistan
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Richmond's lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities was dismissed by a federal judge last week. 

In a written opinion dated Aug. 21, Judge William Orrick concluded that the city's clash with the Trump administration is “purely academic." Richmond and its sanctuary city policies face "no real-world conflict" from the federal government, he wrote.

Similar suits filed by Santa Clara County and San Francisco are still working their way through the courts. Orrick noted that those jurisdictions — unlike Richmond — have been targeted "specifically" by the executive order and in a letter signed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

"Richmond has not alleged any facts indicating that, prior to this lawsuit, the federal defendants were aware of Richmond's 'Sanctuary' policies," Orrick wrote. 

He further noted that Richmond could still participate in ongoing litigation in the Santa Clara County and San Francisco cases by filing an amicus brief, as many other jurisdictions opposed to the executive order have done. 

Trump signed executive order 13768, titled "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States," on Jan. 25, only five days into his presidency. If enforced, it would have drastic consequences for cities across the Bay Area, which depend heavily on federal grants for a spate of programs. 

More than a quarter of Richmond's nearly 110,000 residents were born in another country, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data. The East Bay city collects more than $77 million in federal funding per year, which goes toward affordable housing, education, job training, childcare, policing, and transportation programs.

When Richmond leaders filed suit in March, Mayor Tom Butt and Attorney Joseph Cotchett framed it as a symbolic move to protect public trust and to show that small cities can take a stand against the president. 

"This lawsuit was filed not just for Richmond, but on behalf of every little city not only in California but across the nation," Cotchett had said.

NBC Bay Area has reached out to the City of Richmond for comment. 

Contact Us