Shortly after taking office, Trump signed an executive order seeking to withhold federal fund from so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The January 2017 action was targeting cities such as San Francisco.
In August 2017, California sued the Trump administration for placing new conditions on local law enforcement to get federal grants for public safety. A separate lawsuit was filed in February 2018 against the U.S. Department Justice, charging that the administration’s threats to pull funding from “sanctuary” cities is unconstitutional and violates the rights of local residents.
A preliminary injunction issued last year by a San Francisco judge remains in effect and blocked the administration from withholding funding to several California communities, including San Francisco. An appeals court last month also ruled against the Trump administration and granted an injunction in a decision that involved the city of Chicago — and that decision applies nationally while the various suits proceed in federal court.
Meanwhile, the United States vs. California lawsuit filed in March over the state’s sanctuary policies centers on three laws passed last year to protect undocumented immigrants against deportation. Two of those laws went into effect at the start of 2018.
The Trump administration has blasted California’s’ sanctuary policies and charged the laws passed by the Democratic-led state legislature and signed by California’s governor violate the U.S. Constitution. But this week’s states’-rights decision by the Supreme Court on sports gambling in New Jersey could help California’s case. The high court struck down a federal ban on sports betting in most states and ruled in favor of a New Jersey’s state law.
One of the most contentious sanctuary laws is state Senate Bill 54, which among other things, bars local authorities from asking about the immigration status of people during routine interactions or participating in most federal immigration enforcement actions.