Court again rules that San Francisco’s sanctuary policies comply with federal law

Court of Appeals also invalidates USDOJ conditions on federal grants

City Attorney Dennis Herrera

SAN FRANCISCO (July, 13 2020) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera released the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that both confirmed San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinances are lawful and invalidated grant conditions that the Trump administration had tried to use to deny funding to sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco:

“The rule of law has carried the day once again. We’re pleased the courts have again recognized that San Francisco’s sanctuary laws and policies comply with federal law. These grant conditions were yet another attempt at presidential overreach, and we have put a stop to it. The Trump administration should spend less time villainizing immigrants and more time trying to help all Americans during this devastating pandemic. Now is not the time to try to withhold funding from local governments.

“Let me be clear. There is no law requiring state or local governments to participate in immigration enforcement. Immigration enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government alone. Federal officials can do their job in San Francisco and anywhere else in the country. San Francisco is not stopping them. San Francisco is not impeding them. But our police, firefighters and nurses are not going to be commandeered and turned into the Trump administration’s deportation force. Communities are safer when residents aren’t afraid to take their children to the doctor, call the fire department in an emergency, or go to the police if they’ve been the victim of a crime. This is especially important as we struggle to get through the uncertainty of this global pandemic. Breaking up hardworking families doesn’t make anyone safer.”

About the Ruling
Today’s decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Oct. 5, 2018 ruling from Judge William H. Orrick of the Northern District of California that found, among other things, that the conditions the Trump administration was trying to place on certain law enforcement grants were unconstitutional and that San Francisco is in compliance with Section 8 U.S.C. § 1373. Section 8 U.S.C. That statute prohibits state and local governments from restricting information-sharing with the Department of Homeland Security. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s order prohibiting the grant conditions from being applied in San Francisco and California.

Case Background
Herrera filed the lawsuit on Aug. 11, 2017 in a coordinated approach with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The state of California filed suit shortly after.  The ruling covers grant conditions for fiscal year 2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants. Herrera filed a separate case on Aug. 22, 2018 over similar conditions the Trump administration is trying to place on fiscal 2018 grants. The district court also struck down the grant conditions in that case, which is currently pending on appeal by the federal government to the Ninth Circuit.

The cases are: City and County of San Francisco v. William P. Barr, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. 3:17-cv-04642, filed Aug. 11, 2017, and City and County of San Francisco v. William P. Barr, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Case No. 3:18-cv-05146-JCS, filed Aug. 22, 2018. Additional documentation is available on the City Attorney’s website at: