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California and San Francisco suing Trump administration over 'sanctuary cities' funding fight

San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera, left, shakes hands with State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra after they announce lawsuits against Trump administration (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera, left, shakes hands with State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra after they announce lawsuits against Trump administration (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

California and San Francisco officials said Monday they are suing the Trump administration, alleging federal threats to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” are unconstitutional and violate the rights of residents.

Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said the state and local jurisdictions in California this year received $28 million in law enforcement grants from the federal government, money that could be withheld in the future. He said President Trump's push to end the funding is "bullying."

“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,” the attorney general said at a San Francisco news conference.

A state lawsuit was filed. It will be coordinated with a similar lawsuit already filed by the city of San Francisco, Becerra said. 

The lawsuits challenge as unlawful new conditions that would require cities to provide federal immigration officials access to local detention facilities to interrogate any immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally.

The lawsuits also challenge a condition that cities provide the Department of Homeland Security with 48 hours’ notice before releasing an individual identified by immigration officials.

"This is a back-door attempt to coerce states and local governments to carry out federal immigration enforcement," said San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera.

"Our police and deputies are focused on fighting crime, not breaking up hardworking families."

The lawsuit says the conditions "do not appear in any federal statute, and they do not reflect the will of Congress in appropriating funds."

"To the contrary, the new conditions are simply the latest attempt by the Trump Administration to coerce state and local jurisdictions into carrying out the federal government’s immigration enforcement priorities," reads the lawsuit, which was filed against U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Federal law enforcement grants to the city would be jeopardized if it does not certify that its laws comply with federal requirements.

UPDATE

11:10 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with additional details from the news conference featuring Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra and San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera. 

This article was originally published at 10:10 a.m.

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