San Francisco is asking a Court to halt President Trump’s executive order restricting federal funding from sanctuary cities. The executive order would restrict certain federal funds from jurisdictions with sanctuary policies. Sanctuary policies are intended to impede the enforcement of immigration law by federal immigration officials. These policies, which proponents argue are meant to foster “trust” with law enforcement in immigrant communities, are often designed to protect criminal aliens from detection and removal from the United State by restricting communication with federal officials and compliance with detainer requests, often called ICE holds.
At a press conference, San Francisco’s city attorney, Dennis Herrera, said he believed the executive order was unconstitutional because it “tries to turn city and state employees into federal immigration enforcers.” San Francisco’s sanctuary policies, however, are far reaching and prohibit city law enforcement from sharing information with ICE, including merely responding to requests by ICE for information regarding a criminal alien’s release from custody.
President Trump’s executive order explained that “sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.” Additionally, it stated, “it is the policy of the executive branch to ensure, to the fullest extent of the law, that a State, or a political subdivision of a State, shall comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373.” This statute explicitly prohibits sanctuary policies that restrict the sending, requesting, maintaining, or exchanging of information regarding a person’s immigration status. The order also gives the Attorney General and DHS Secretary the authority to ensure “that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes.”
San Francisco, which has defiantly maintained its sanctuary policies despite public outcry after the fatal shooting of Kate Steinle by an illegal alien, stands to lose millions of dollars in funding. San Francisco receives as much as $1.2 billion in federal funds currently. Kate Steinle’s murder has motivated lawmakers around the country to introduce legislation to eliminate sanctuary policies. This year, at least 25 state legislatures are considering measures to prohibit sanctuary policies in their states and require law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
The court scheduled a hearing on this matter for April 5.