A California county has filed a lawsuit over President Trump’s executive order targeting “sanctuary” cities and counties, in an attempt to save their federal funding.
Officials in Santa Clara County are the latest to file a suit aimed at blocking the order, which would withhold billions of dollars in federal funding to those areas where the local authorities refuse to enforce immigration laws, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
“We are defending Santa Clara County’s core values and the values of so many cities and counties across the nation,” said Dave Cortese, president of Santa Clara County’s Board of Supervisors, in a statement. “There is no justification for withholding nearly $1.7 billion in funds used to deliver essential county services.”
On Feb. 3, Santa Clara County’s general counsel, James R. Williams, filed a motion to place a nationwide block on the president’s order. San Francisco city officials filed a similar lawsuit in January, according to the report, as well as two cities in Massachusetts. A hearing will likely take place in April in San Francisco.
Sanctuary cities are not officially or legally recognized, but municipalities in California and other parts of the country have vowed not to uphold immigration laws by not recognizing the status of illegal aliens when they are arrested for minor crimes.
According to the article, the premise of “sanctuary” is that reporting an immigrant’s illegal status to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials “could serve to cripple trust between police officers and minority communities, a bond that already has been tested by increased scrutiny regarding police shootings around the country.” However, this theory has been debunked by law enforcement experts.
Santa Clara reportedly receives almost 70% of its annual operating budget from federal funding, and taxpayers fund that county’s public health department to the tune of approximately $40 million.
According to the lawsuit, “Congress cannot impose a condition that is so coercive that it amounts to ‘a gun to the head,’ leaving the state or local government with no real choice but to buckle to a federal demand.”
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera told the Times that he’s reviewing the motion for a preliminary injunction. “We share many of Santa Clara County’s concerns about the unlawfulness of this executive order and its harmful impacts on our city and residents, including seniors, children and low-income families,” he said, adding, “Trying to punish communities for a widely embraced policy that has been shown to reduce crime and improve living standards makes no sense.”
H/T: Los Angeles Times
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