The Trump administration announced Wednesday the president will strip sanctuary cities of federal funding, potentially putting at risk more than $1 billion a year that San Francisco receives from the federal government.
President Donald Trump was expected to sign two executive orders Wednesday, instructing federal authorities to crack down on undocumented immigrant populations as well as the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“We’re going to strip federal grant monies from states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at a news conference. “The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws.”
The executive order related to sanctuary cities, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” states that the federal government will “Ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law.”
The order further states, “The Director of the Office of Management and Budget is directed to obtain and provide relevant and responsive information on all Federal grant money that currently is received by any sanctuary jurisdiction.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Lee reiterated his pledge Wednesday to keep San Francisco a Sanctuary City where law enforcement and other agencies limit their contact with federal immigration authorities.
San Francisco directly receives $478 million a year from the federal government and another $915 million annually from the state — much of which is federal money, the San Francisco Examiner previously reported.
Former Mayor Willie Brown cautioned that since details are slim, it’s unclear whether the federal funding cuts will be insignificant or detrimental.
“You have to figure out what money he’s talking about taking away,” Brown said. “It may be a shell game, like many things in government, now you see it, now you don’t.”
Sen. Scott Wiener, a former San Francisco supervisor, said there is “alarming bigotry and hatred emanating from the White House.”
“If President Trump believes signing a piece of paper will for one second change how San Francisco and California value and protect our immigrant neighbors, he is underestimating our strength and spirit,” Wiener said in a statement. “Trump can try to build his wall and he can try to cut off funding for sanctuary cities, but he’s in for one hell of a fight.”
The news comes just a day after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved an additional $1.5 million in funding for legal services to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The mayor has faced criticism for supporting funds for nonprofits to defend undocumented immigrants but not the Public Defender’s Office as initially proposed by former Supervisor David Campos.
“I think we’ve put in a very solid amount of money,” the mayor told reporters Tuesday at City Hall. “It is aimed at community based organizations. Why? Not only are community based organizations are effective they have a direct connection to people living in fear.”
Eileen Hirst, chief of staff for the Sheriff’s Department, said Wednesday that Sheriff Vicki Hennessy will continue to comply with San Francisco’s Sanctuary City policies.
In the last six months, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has made 41 requests to be notified when the Sheriff’s Department releases undocumented immigrants, or to detain them for pickup. Hennessy has not responded to any of them.
“She’s not going to change what she’s been doing,” Hirst said. “Sheriff Hennessy will continue to honor the Sanctuary City ordinance.”
S.F. Examiner Staff Writer Joshua Sabatini contributed to this report.