SAN FRANCISCO (CBS13) — A San Francisco judge issued a legal setback for President Donald Trump’s plan to withhold federal taxpayers’ money from sanctuary cities.The court ruled that while the president’s plan is not unconstitutional, it will create a financial burden for cities and counties that may not be in full compliance with federal law.
The warning letters threatening a federal funding freeze to sanctuary cities came quickly, but Tuesday a San Francisco federal court said “not so fast.” In the ruling, a judge blocked the Trump Administrations plans to take away money from sanctuary cities and other jurisdictions.
“The president is selling fear and he’s making all immigrants seem like criminals,” said San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera, “and nothing could be further from the truth.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice sent letters to nine California cities and jurisdictions, including Sacramento, asking they verify compliance with federal immigration enforcement law and warning they could lose federal funding if not. The county of Santa Clara and city of San Francisco – among others – sued.
“This was not just a victory for the cities, but it’s also- in my opinion- it gives a little bit more calm to the residents of San Francisco, particularly immigrant populations,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
The court leaned on the side of sanctuary cities, citing President Trump’s policy would deprive cities and counties of millions of federal dollars used to fund core services, “causing immediate, irreparable harm.”
Tuesday, a spokesperson for Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg told CBS13 that the mayor fully anticipated the judge would rule this way and he fully supports that decision.
In a press conference Friday near the California-Mexico border, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said America will bear the burden if illegal immigration is not controlled and he finds sanctuary cities to be a roadblock in the immigration conversation.
“We have lawful systems of immigration and shouldn’t that be enforced? Is that racist to say so?,” asked Sessions.
The ruling does not block the government from enforcing conditions on federal grants or from creating a definition of sanctuary jurisdictions.