New York Times
By Thomas Fuller
January 31, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO — The City of San Francisco sued President Trump on Tuesday over his order to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, saying the order was unconstitutional.
In a lawsuit filed with the United States District Court of the Northern District of California, San Francisco’s city attorney, Dennis Herrera, requested an injunction on the Trump administration’s attempted crackdown on sanctuary cities, which limit city agencies and local law enforcement from assisting in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
“You can’t put a gun to the head of states and localities to get them to comply with what you might want at the federal level,” Mr. Herrera said.
The Trump order says it is in the interest of public safety for local officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and seeks to withhold federal grants from municipalities that have sanctuary city policies.
San Francisco is home to around 30,000 undocumented residents, Mr. Herrera said. The city receives around $1.2 billion in federal funding but city officials say it is unclear what portion of the money is at risk. San Francisco’s sanctuary city law has been in place since 1989.
In a news conference at City Hall, Mr. Herrera said the executive order was unconstitutional because it “tries to turn city and state employees into federal immigration enforcers.”
San Francisco’s mayor, Edwin M. Lee, argued that forcing city officials to assist federal immigration authorities would make the city less safe because illegal immigrants would be afraid to cooperate with the police.
“Sanctuary cities are safer,” Mr. Lee said at the news conference. “You talk to our police chief and our sheriff and other law enforcement professionals, they believe having open communications with all elements of our society is much more preferable.”
In San Francisco, a city proud of its liberal traditions, Mr. Trump received 10 percent of the vote in November. Protests have erupted here over the Trump order on sanctuary cities and the order limiting immigration from predominantly Muslim countries.
Mr. Lee said the city was aware of the risk of heightened confrontations with the Trump administration.
“It’s no surprise that this president might continue to target us,” he said. “We have to be ready.”
San Francisco featured prominently in the debate over sanctuary city policies after the killing of a resident, Kathryn Steinle, in 2015.
Ms. Steinle, 32, was shot and killed by Juan Francisco López-Sánchez, an immigrant from Mexico who was in the United States illegally and had a long criminal record and a history of heroin abuse. He had been deported to Mexico at least five times.
At the time, Mr. Trump seized on Ms. Steinle’s death as “yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately.”
Mr. Lee and others say San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy explicitly allows for cooperation with federal immigration authorities when an individual has been convicted of a felony.
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