Sacramento, CALIF.- On January 25, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will deny federal funding to sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities are jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.
Today, the California legislature not only continued their defiance of President Trump's executive order, they doubled down on it.
In a party-line vote, the Senate Public Safety Committee approved the California Values Act. The measure now moves to the floor of the state Senate, where Democrats control a super majority. If passed and signed into law, it will make California the only Sanctuary State in the nation.
The bill was offered by Senate President and Democrat Kevin de León. It would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from spending money to enforce federal immigration laws. The measure would also ban immigration enforcement in state schools, health facilities, and courthouses.
De León said, “We will not stand by and let the federal government use our state and local agencies to separate mothers from their children.”
The city of San Francisco has also filed a lawsuit challenging the president on the issue. The lawsuit, filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, is the first court challenge over the sanctuary order.
Herrera noted, “The president’s executive order is not only unconstitutional, it’s un-American.”
And legal precedent may be on Herrera's side. The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government may not “commandeer” state and local officials by compelling them to enforce federal law -- a violation of the Tenth Amendment.
If Trump’s Homeland Security department goes ahead with plans to block federal funding, it’s likely San Francisco’s lawsuit won’t be the only one.
It’s also worth noting that 74% of Californians surveyed in a new Berkeley/IGS poll said they do not approve of nor want the sanctuary city status for their cities.
Following Trump’s election, California Democrats began establishing themselves as the leader in the fight against deporting some undocumented immigrants. About 1 in 10 people in California’s workforce does not have legal status.
Last week, Governor Jerry Brown noted, “In California, immigrants are an integral part of who we are and what we’ve become. They have helped create the wealth and dynamism of this state from the very beginning.”