By Rachel Quinio
San Francisco is the first city in the nation to challenge President Donald Trump’s “unconstitutional” executive order on Jan. 31.
President Trump signed an executive order six days prior stating sanctuary cities who don’t cooperate with federal deportation agents will lose federal funding.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed the case and claimed President Trump is in violation of the 10th Amendment.
The lawsuit read, “In blatant disregard of the law, the President of the United States seeks to coerce local authorities into abandoning what are known as ‘Sanctuary City’ laws and policies. This strikes at the heart of established principles of federalism.”
The lawsuit could result to human and financial implications
There is an estimated 30,000 undocumented immigrants within San Francisco totaling 3.7 percent of the overall population.
The unwavering compliance with President Trump’s future immigration mandates could mean substantial mass deportations.
This would affect students and their families that have been granted amnesty through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
“We are gonna deal with DACA with heart,” President Trump said at a news conference on Feb. 13. “I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do. And you know the law’s rough. I’m not talking about new laws. I’m talking the existing law is very rough. It’s very, very rough.”
President Trump acknowledged the subject matter was difficult to him because in some cases within DACA you can find “gang members” and “drug members” while most “have some absolutely incredible kids, I would say mostly… it’s a very, very tough subject.”
President Trump, however, carried a different much stronger tone while on the campaign trail.
Last year in August, President Trump said in an immigration policy speech that undocumented immigrants had one road to citizenship: “to return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined,” he the pledged to “break the cycle of amnesty and illegal immigration.”
President Trump’s present stance is unclear and the future of DACA students is just as ambiguous.
In a meeting on Jan. 20, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a resolution supporting the continuation of DACA stating, “the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the state Chancellor’s Office will vigorously advocate at every level of government to protect our students and our system’s values.”
The other issue the city faces is that of finance.
San Francisco collects $1.2 billion annually in federal funds which is approximately 13 percent of its $9.6 billion budget.
If the city is found to be in violation of the Executive Order this could create fiscal scarcity leading to necessary rebudgeting and reallocation of funds.
San Francisco’s District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee does not seem too alarmed by funding threats from President Trump.
Supervisor Yee said, “The budget cuts Trump hopes to implement would affect the people on a national level, not necessarily just the city of San Francisco. These cuts would affect programs such as Medicare and Medicaid ”
San Francisco receives its federal aid in the form of reimbursements. The city could cut services now or continue spending knowing the looming potential of having to make even more severe cuts to deal with the surplus spending.
The city is presented with a “Hobson’s choice.”
Mayor Ed Lee in a statement Jan. 31 called the Executive Order “misguided” saying that the order in fact “makes our cities less safe.” The Executive Order hinders the relationship between civilians and the law enforcement which is congruent with claims made in the legal suit, “when witnesses and crime victims will not talk to the police, law enforcement suffers and the entire community is less safe.”
Mayor Lee said, “We need strong cities to continue to push our nation forward… San Francisco is a city that fights for what is right.”
San Francisco has been a “Sanctuary City” since 1989.