34 Cities & Counties Ask Federal Judge to Halt Trump Administration’s Threats Against “Sanctuary Jurisdiction”

A Diverse Coalition of Jurisdictions Says President Trump’s Executive Order Threatening Withholding of Funds is Unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Thirty-four cities and counties across the country are asking a federal court to halt President Trump’s executive order threatening the withdrawal of federal funds from so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The coalition filed an amicus brief in San Francisco federal court today to support the County of Santa Clara’s lawsuit against the President, arguing the executive order is unconstitutional and that the public would suffer irreparable harm unless the order was halted nationwide. The case, County of Santa Clara v. Trump, Case No. 5:17-cv-00574, is currently pending before the Honorable United States Judge William H. Orrick.

Today’s coalition of concerned local governments appear as amici curiae (“friends of the court”). The cities and counties argue that the Executive Order impermissibly intrudes on the independence of local governments by threatening to withhold funding authorized by Congress if they do not follow the President’s unilateral instructions. They say that the loss of funding would risk public health and safety, and would shift the federal government’s unpaid tab to local residents. Some amici, for example, have concluded that victims of domestic violence or witnesses to crime will leave crimes unreported rather than risk going to local authorities if they face a risk of detention by federal immigration authorities.

Notably, the coalition includes many cities and counties who do not consider themselves to be “sanctuaries,” but who nevertheless agree the Executive Order is unlawful and unconstitutional. All amici agree that local authorities, not distant federal officials, should be making policy judgments that affect the interests and safety needs of their local communities. Local governments are responsible for the health and safety of their residents, from fighting crime and fires, preparing for natural or medical disasters, providing clean drinking water, maintaining streets and sidewalks, removing trash, and building and maintaining parks, among many other public services. Because of their crucial role and on-the-ground experience, they, not the President, should decide how to deploy their limited resources.

The coalition’s brief asks the Court to halt enforcement of the Order nationwide, not just in Santa Clara, because a cut in funding to one city or county results in greater burdens on the services provided by nearby jurisdictions, and increased risks to public safety broadly. While the amici are not parties to this litigation, they believe that their combined experience and position will aid the Court in coming to a just, constitutional ruling.


New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “First and foremost, New Orleans is not a sanctuary city and our police department’s policy on immigration complies with federal law. The NOPD’s policy makes New Orleans safer because individuals are more likely to report crime, and victims and witnesses can testify without fear of being questioned about their immigration status. We are focused on fighting crime, and we will not move officers off the street to join President Trump’s deportation force. This Executive Order is unconstitutional, and denying critical federal funding to cities will only make us less safe.”

“Today, 34 cities and counties across the nation, representing over 24 million people, joined together to stand up for the health and safety of their communities and oppose President Trump’s ill-conceived and unconstitutional Executive Order that would require local jurisdictions to perform federal immigration work or risk losing unrelated federal funding,” said Kelly Dermody, Managing Partner of the San Francisco Office of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann and Bernstein, LLP, counsel for Amici. “Local jurisdictions are in the best position to set these priorities and they understand that driving some residents underground in fear of any interaction with local authorities makes every resident in that community, and those adjacent, less safe.”

The cities that have joined the amici coalition are:

Albany, New York

Austin, Texas

Berkeley, California

Chicago, Illinois

Denver, Colorado

East Palo Alto, California

Jersey City, New Jersey

Los Angeles, California

Menlo Park, California

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Morgan Hill, California

New Orleans, Louisiana

Oakland, California

Portland, Oregon

Princeton, New Jersey

Sacramento, California

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Salinas, California

Salt Lake City, Utah

Santa Ana, California

Santa Clara, California

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Monica, California

Seattle, Washington

Somerville, Massachusetts

West Hollywood, California

The counties that have joined the amici coalition are:

County of Alameda, California

Cook County, Illinois

King County, Washington

Los Angeles County, California

Marin County, California

Monterey County, California

Santa Cruz County, California

Sonoma County, California

A copy of the brief is available at https://www.lieffcabraser.com/pdf/Amicus_Brief-Santa_Clara.pdf


Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Dean M. Harvey, 415-956-1000

Release Summary

34 Cities & Counties Sign Amicus Brief Seeking Nationwide Injunction of Trump Administration’s Executive Order on “Sanctuary Jurisdictions”


Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Dean M. Harvey, 415-956-1000