Trump Administration Sued By California, San Francisco Over Immigration Plans

The state of California and city of San Francisco are suing the Trump administration over the decision to revoke funding for so-called “sanctuary cities”. Not long after taking office, Donald Trump signed an executive order that would stop national funds being available to regions which did not fully cooperate with the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This has resulted in reduced funding to groups that help young offenders to avoid reoffending and help low-level drug offenders get the help they need.

In the last fiscal year, California drew over $28 million from this fund, but since the executive order came into effect, regulations mean that access to these funds are now tied to jurisdictions giving ICE access to immigrants in jails. These regulations are in direct opposition to California state law which bars jails from detaining immigrants so ICE can claim them, unless they have been convicted of violent crimes. In other states, if an undocumented migrant worker is picked up by law enforcement for any reason, they can be detained for longer in order to give ICE time to pick them up. However, as California has sanctuary city policies in place, there are laws in place to forbid law enforcement from informing federal government of detained immigrants release dates. State law also prevents federal employees from accessing jails to interview detainees about their immigration status.

In other states, if an undocumented migrant worker is picked up by law enforcement for any reason, they can be detained for longer in order to give ICE time to pick them up. However, as California has sanctuary city policies in place, there are laws in place to forbid law enforcement from informing the federal government of detained immigrants release dates. State law also prevents federal employees from accessing jails to interview detainees about their immigration status.

By suing the government, it is hoped that these new conditions will be blocked and they will continue to have access to the grants. The lawsuit states that San Francisco is home to “a vibrant immigrant community, many members of which are undocumented” and goes on to argue that the city as a whole is safer when “its officials do not enforce federal immigration laws.”

This isn’t the first time that individual states and cities have hit back over immigration policy imposed by the central government. One police chief has expressed concerns about what he describes as the “politicization of violent crime” after the Department of Justice sent letters to four police chiefs in sanctuary cities” stating that they were assessing their “commitment to reducing violent crime stemming from illegal immigration”. The letters suggest that they might not receive funding unless they cooperate with the Trump administration’s objectives.

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