The State of California announced Monday that it will be joining the City of San Francisco in suing the Trump administration over the possibility of losing access to some federal grants as a result of Trump’s “sanctuary city” crackdown.
The lawsuit was filed against the Department of Justice in state court, and seeks to protect some $28 million in grants across state and local governments, as well as to block some specific provisions of Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities.
The City of Chicago filed a similar lawsuit against the DOJ last week. (Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded: “No amount of federal taxpayer dollars will help a city that refuses to help its own residents.”)
In a press conference, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, according to the Los Angeles Times: “It’s a low blow to our men and women who wear the badge, for the federal government to threaten their crime-fighting resources in order to force them to do the work of the federal government when it comes to immigration enforcement.”
In a separate statement, Becerra said: “The Trump Administration cannot manipulate federal grant fund requirements to pressure states, counties or municipalities to enforce federal immigration laws.” He also argued that the executive order was unconstitutional.
San Francisco’s sanctuary cities came under the national spotlight in 2015, when a young woman named Kate Steinle was shot and killed in broad daylight by an illegal alien who had been deported several times and had several felony convictions. He later told a local news reported that he had chosen to come to San Francisco because of its sanctuary city policies.
Trump made Steinle’s case a cause célèbre, and his commitment to a border wall and to enforcing federal immigration laws helped him rise to the top of the GOP primary field — and the presidency.
California, however, has not only defended the “sanctuary city” policies that are in place in most major cities (with Fresno a major exception), but is currently considering a bill to declare the entire state a “sanctuary state.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.