Herrera statement on oral argument in appellate court for San Francisco v. Trump

Earlier ruling found Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities unconstitutional

City Attorney Dennis Herrera at a press conference Jan. 31, 2017 announcing his lawsuit against President Trump for his unconstitutional executive order targeting sanctuary cities.

SAN FRANCISCO (April 11, 2018) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today issued the following statement after oral arguments were heard in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal regarding President Donald Trump’s unconstitutional executive order that seeks to strip federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions:

“We are a nation of immigrants and a country of laws. This case has always been about protecting our most vulnerable residents and checking the president’s abuse of power.

The president cannot simply grant himself authority that he doesn’t have under the Constitution. Democracies don’t work that way.

That is why San Francisco stood up to protect billions of dollars that help provide basic necessities for some of the most vulnerable Americans. We’re talking about low-income families, seniors, foster children and people with disabilities. This is money that helps provide food, health care and a roof over their heads. It’s money that pays for bridges and public transit. Those are the programs this administration targeted in its cynical attempt to vilify immigrants.

Because San Francisco stood up, and communities like Santa Clara County joined us, the U.S. Department of Justice is now backtracking and saying this executive order doesn’t apply to most federal funding. Unfortunately, saying ‘trust us’ just doesn’t cut it. That is why the people of San Francisco — and across this country — need the certainty of a court order.

Let me be clear. San Francisco follows federal immigration law. The federal government has always been free to enforce immigration law in San Francisco, just like it can anywhere else in the country. We do not harbor criminals. The federal government knows who is in our jails. If they think someone is dangerous, all they need is a criminal warrant.

But our teachers, doctors and police officers cannot be conscripted into becoming a deportation force. San Francisco’s sanctuary policies make our city safer by encouraging anyone who has been a victim or witness to a crime to tell police. We are a safer community when people can report a crime, bring a loved one to the doctor or take their kids to school without worrying it could lead to a family member being deported.

Tearing apart hardworking families doesn’t make sense for anyone.”

About the Case

San Francisco on Jan. 31, 2017 became the first entity to sue Trump over his executive order to strip federal funding from “sanctuary jurisdictions.” Santa Clara County and other local governments soon followed.  San Francisco had about $2 billion at stake. That included $1.2 billion in annual operating funds, or about 13 percent of San Francisco’s budget; and another $800 million in multi-year federal grants that are not part of the annual operating budget and used primarily for large infrastructure projects, like bridges, roads and public transportation. 
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick on Nov. 20, 2017 found that President Trump’s executive order violated the Constitution and issued an order prohibiting the federal government from enforcing it.  The federal government appealed his ruling.
That lawsuit is the first of two that Herrera has brought against the Trump administration over federal funding for sanctuary cities.  The second lawsuit, filed Aug. 11, 2017, seeks to invalidate grant conditions that U.S. Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III separately sought to place on a group of U.S. Department of Justice grants for local law enforcement. Those conditions came after the court preliminarily enjoined enforcement of the executive order in April.  San Francisco’s case that challenged the executive order is about limits on what the president can do. San Francisco’s case challenging the grant conditions is about limits on what the attorney general can do. That case is ongoing.
The cases are: City and County of San Francisco v. Donald J. Trump, et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. 3:17-cv-00485, filed Jan. 31, 2017. City and County of San Francisco v. Jefferson B. Sessions III, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. 3:17-cv-04642, filed Aug. 11, 2017. Additional documentation is available on the City Attorney’s website at: sfcityattorney.org