The city of San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Tuesday in an attempt to preserve their status as a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. The suit is in response to President Trump’s executive order calling on the DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security to withhold federal funds from cities that do not comply with U.S. immigration law.
“The president’s executive order is not only unconstitutional, it’s un-American,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said at a press conference. “This country was founded on the principle that the federal government cannot force state and local governments to do its job for it, like carrying out immigration policy. I am defending that bedrock American principle today.”
Herrera’s absolutely right; the federal government can’t force San Francisco to cooperate with immigration authorities. Just like President Obama could not compel public schools to abide by his nutrition policies. In both cases, local officials have a choice: You want this money? Play by our rules. Don’t like the rules? Don’t take the money. We don’t remember seeing any Democrats crying about their sovereign rights when the school lunch law came down.
“The Executive Order threatens the loss of more than $1 billion in federal funds that support vital services, the loss of community trust, and the loss of San Francisco’s sovereign authority to set and follow its own laws on matters appropriately and historically within the control of local government,” the city said in a statement.
Well, this lawsuit was probably inevitable; San Francisco – and, indeed, California as a whole – has promised all along to oppose President Trump’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. And it only makes sense for this to be the first city to file suit; as the place where Kate Steinle was murdered by an illegal immigrant, it was used repeatedly by Trump to illustrate the dangers of sanctuary policies.
We’ll see soon enough how Trump’s executive order fares in court, but even if San Francisco prevails in their lawsuit, this administration has set a clear tone on illegal immigration. If the “stick” doesn’t work, then perhaps Trump can use a variety of carrots to persuade sanctuary cities to cooperate with ICE. It seems absurd that the president of the United States should have to fight a court battle to get these cities to clean up their own communities, but then again, what else would you expect from San Francisco?