California is suing the Trump administration for threatening to withhold funds for sanctuary cities, accusing the Justice Department of "pure intimidation" and arguing the state - not the federal government - should be the one to allocate its law enforcement resources.
In a news conference Monday, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and City Attorney Dennis Herrera, both Democrats, announced the lawsuit, which makes California the first state to challenge the administration on its sanctuary city policy of denying funds to cities that limit cooperation with enforcement of US immigration laws.
The lawsuits stem from a move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in July to place greater conditions on the grants, known as JAGs.
This suit answered U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session's threat to withhold appropriated 28.3 million U.S. dollars in law enforcement funding grants to California unless the Golden State police grant the federal government full access to their stations and arrest records.
Read San Francisco's latest lawsuit below.
"Several California cities, including San Francisco, have already experienced the devastating effects that sanctuary policies have on their citizens", spokesman Devin O'Malley said, referring to some high-profile murders that have been allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants. "In the name of public safety, this president is undercutting law enforcement by withholding money used to reduce crime".
Calls to the DOJ for comment on the California suit were not immediately returned.
SF, CA Sue Trump Administration Over Sanctuary City Threats
The suit on behalf of California will be the first of its kind, Becerra said, brought by an entire state seeking to challenge the constitutionality of cutting federal grants for cities that refuse to hold people for US immigration authorities to pick up and deport or notify agents when someone is being released.
That condition was put in place by the Obama administration previous year, and virtually every city says it is in compliance with that law.
The showdown over so-called sanctuary cities has been heating up in recent months as some local governments have refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, though a wave of smaller, cash-strapped communities have shed their sanctuary status.
While not a technical term, "sanctuary cities" are places that have refused to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after detaining undocumented immigrants. "This cooperation with law enforcement gets criminals off the streets and makes everyone safer". The judge left open the possibility of certain conditions being written into funding related to law enforcement, and that is the tactic being taken now by the administration.
The crackdown on sanctuary cities lines up with Trump's promised prioritization of the issue on the campaign trail.
The DOJ conditions that San Francisco is now suing over were announced as added requirements to that grant after the court upheld its ruling against the broader threat.More news: BBCI: North Korea crisis: South's leader in plea to avoid war
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