SAN FRANCISCO - A San Francisco federal court judge Friday morning will consider San Francisco and Santa Clara counties' requests to halt President Donald Trump's Jan. 25 executive order that would withhold federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions.
Cities and counties that do not assist with federal immigration enforcement by holding arrestees beyond their release date could lose significant amounts of funding for healthcare, social services and safety programs, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese said at a news conference in San Jose today.
"A ruling in our favor tomorrow will give temporary protection for funding owed not only to us, but to communities like us across the country," Cortese said
Santa Clara County is facing potential losses of $1.7 billion out of a budget of $6.7 billion.
The county budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year will be made public by May 1, and will be adopted on June 30, Cortese said, leaving the board scrambling to set aside reserves in case federal funding is cut.
Cuts during economic downturns can be made to social programs, but a loss of $1.7 billion would mean cutting entire programs, county executive Jeffrey Smith said.
"There's no unnecessary services that we provide, so we'll definitely be hurting people if we start cutting," Smith said. "Individual or large donors are unlikely to step in with that much money at risk, so I think if the cuts are made, it'll mean people are on the street."
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that jurisdictions that refuse to honor detainer requests "make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on our streets."
"Countless Americans would be alive today and countless loved ones would not be grieving today if the policies of these sanctuary jurisdictions were ended," Sessions said, citing the 2015 fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican national with a history of drug convictions and deportations.
Lopez-Sanchez was released from jail a few days before shooting Steinle in San Francisco.
But the Center for American Progress released a study on Jan. 26 showing that, on average, 35.5 fewer crimes were committed per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties compared to non-sanctuary counties.
Median household income was shown to be $4,353 higher, the poverty rate 2.3 percent lower and unemployment 1.1 percent lower in sanctuary counties, with the most pronounced effects appearing in low-population counties, according to the study.
When local agencies assist with immigration detention, public trust in law enforcement suffers, a major issue in a county with a population that is more than one-third foreign-born, Sheriff Laurie Smith said.
"We cannot afford to have a single resident fear to call us when they've been a victim of a crime or to report a crime. We cannot afford to have a single person fear calling 911," Smith said.
The executive order, and the county's lawsuit to stop it, is about more than immigration, Deputy County Executive David Campos said.
"We have a president that is trying to unilaterally use federal funds to essentially extort jurisdictions to make them do his bidding," Campos said. "And if Donald Trump can do that with respect to immigration,
then that sets a precedent on other issues."