President Trump’s executive order to strip funding from sanctuary cities faced its first legal challenge Friday in San Francisco. The city and Santa Clara County went to federal court to block the order, contending it’s unconstitutional.
Both President Trump and opponents of his sanctuary city order have generally discussed it the same way: as an effort to de-fund cities and counties that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agents. San Francisco and Santa Clara say that’s more than a billion dollars in their budgets.
Ben Bradford discusses more details of the case with All Things Considered anchor Randol White
Labor unions and immigrant aid groups protested early outside the U.S. district court.
But inside the courtroom, justice department lawyers offered a very different interpretation of the order.
They said, despite the political rhetoric, the agency agrees with the plaintiffs—it can’t strip all funds—it’s identified three law enforcement grants it could legally withhold—representing hundreds of thousands to a few million dollars for the largest cities—not billions.
After the hearing, San Francisco deputy city attorney Sara Eisenberg called it a modest victory.
"What we did see today was a significant backing down at least on the part of the attorney that was in court from the broader position the Administration seems to be taking. We are not confident that is going to stick," says Eisenberg.
Eisenberg also says the city will continue to push to strike down the order. The judge says he will rule soon on whether to grant a preliminary injunction, which would block the order as the case proceeds.