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In New Filing, Attorney General Becerra Says Trump’s Threat to Defund “Sanctuary Jurisdictions” Jeopardizes Safety of California Communities

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Attorney General Becerra Leads Friend-of-Court Brief in Support of San Francisco, Santa Clara and Richmond Challenge to Trump’s Executive Order

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today led nine states and Washington, DC in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, in support of the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Santa Clara, and the City of Richmond in their challenge to the Trump Administration’s executive order targeting “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The executive order seeks to pressure local jurisdictions into enforcing federal immigration law.

“The Trump Administration does not have the right to coerce states, counties or municipalities to do the federal government's job,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “California’s state and local law enforcement officials are in the business of public safety, not of deportation. Threatening public safety funding to compel localities to do immigration work is a dangerous game that undermines public safety.” 

Earlier this year, the district court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, prohibiting the Trump Administration from enforcing executive order provisions that threaten to broadly strip federal funds from states and localities the Trump Administration designates as “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The Trump Administration is now asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit, even though the executive order provisions remain unchanged.

In addition to highlighting the flaws in the federal government’s motion, the brief highlights the public safety benefits arising from policies that focus local law enforcement agencies on crime prevention rather than enforcement of federal immigration law. Attorney General Becerra was joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington in filing the brief.

In March, Attorney General Becerra filed an amicus brief on behalf of the State of California in support of the jurisdiction’s request for a preliminary injunction. The court issued its preliminary injunction on April 25. In issuing the injunction, the Court raised concerns about the constitutionality of President Trump’s attempt use “coercive methods” to compel jurisdictions into adopting the Trump Administration’s preferred immigration enforcement practices. 

Attorney General Becerra, in collaboration with the Attorneys General of New York, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Washington, released a report last month that refutes the Trump Administration's claims on so-called “sanctuary” policies. The “Setting the Record Straight on Local Involvement in Federal Civil Immigration Enforcement: The Facts and The Laws” report outlines how the experience of many local law enforcement agencies has led them to conclude that public safety is better served by focusing their time and resources on combatting dangerous criminals rather than on immigration enforcement.

A copy of the filings is attached to the electronic version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.

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