SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — President Donald Trump took aim at “sanctuary cities” on Wednesday signing an executive order that withholds federal funding for jurisdictions bearing that designation.
“You’re going to risk funding and frankly do very little for the cause that you purport to support,” said Former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness.
He is in favor of Trump’s order, saying the designation of a “sanctuary city” caries little weight.
“This is overwhelmingly symbolic and will have a minimal true operational impact,” said McGinness.
A “sanctuary city” is loosely defined as jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration agents. This mainly affects people living here illegally who are arrested. Sanctuary cities don’t turn over information about that individual to ICE.
“They commit to protect the information that might identify the person who might be suspected of being undocumented,” said Deborah Ortiz.
Ortiz is the CEO of Opening Doors, a group that helps immigrants and refugees resettle. She is in favor of sanctuary cities and says allowing ICE to intervene on an arrest doesn’t give people living here a fair chance.
“To be deported even pre-due process, ignores that there are families that will be divided,” said Ortiz.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg agrees.
“This is a cowardly, reckless and inhumane act and Sacramento will fight it. And we are not alone,” he said
But like many city-county relationships, the county runs the jail. And if an illegal immigrant is arrested, ICE has access to them.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones explained just that in a statement released today.
“We do allow ICE agents inside our facilities to access our data and inmate population so they can carry out their mission,” wrote Jones.
McGinness says most departments that cooperate with ICE get paid hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
“Because they hold immigration violators in their jail,” he explained.
On the flip side, with the stroke of Trump’s pen, cities and agencies that deny ICE access could lose millions of federal grant dollars.
That includes money used locally in the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, street firearm reduction programs in Stockton, helicopter operations in Sacramento City, and the Sacramento County Juvenile court.
“I think the question for local policy makers is, is it worth it to make a symbolic stand,” said McGinness.