The City of San Francisco [official website] filed a lawsuit [press release] on Tuesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] against the Trump administration over the executive order to withhold federal funding from designated sanctuary cities [text]. The lawsuit [complaint, PDF] is the first of its kind in which the city is arguing the federal government does not have a right to force cities to assist in their immigration efforts as a requirement for funding.
The Executive Order undermines San Francisco’s ability to provide critical services not just to undocumented immigrants, but to all residents. When witnesses and crime victims will not talk to the police, law enforcement suffers and the entire community is less safe. When children are not vaccinated or the sick are not treated for communicable diseases, illness spreads throughout the community. The United States Constitution guarantees states and local governments, such as San Francisco, that they may make those decisions and do not have to carry out the Federal government’s immigration programs.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that San Francisco is in compliance with federal law and an order blocking enforcement of the executive order.
The immigration debate continues as various government entities are conflicted over immigration policies. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a memo [JURIST report] this month that provides model language to be used for immigration laws and policies in so-called “sanctuary cities” nationally. Pedro Figueroa Zarceno filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] earlier this month against the city of San Francisco, the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department for violating San Francisco’s sanctuary city law. In December JURIST Guest Columnist Hugh D. Spitzer of the University of Washington School of Law discussed [JURIST op-ed] US Supreme Court decisions that could derail the anticipated efforts by president-elect Trump to punish so-called “sanctuary cities”