SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco mayor Ed Lee responded with defiance after President Donald Trump signed an executive order punishing sanctuary cities such as San Francisco on Wednesday.
The order denies federal grant funds to the cities and limits local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
That means a number of Bay Area cities including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Berkeley, Alameda and Emeryville face the potential loss of millions in federal funding, although the exact details have yet to be spelled out.
San Francisco receives around $1 billion in funding from the federal government across all categories but Mayor Ed Lee said the city is still working to determine exactly which funds will be affected by the order. He said Department of Homeland Security grant funds total somewhere around $10 million.
Lee said he stands by the city’s Sanctuary City policy.
“Our city is still a sanctuary city and we are going to remain a sanctuary city,” Lee said.
The mayor said he believed San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy makes the city safe. The policy is intended to increase trust and cooperation between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, as well as make it possible for immigrants to access services such as education and health care.
The policy has been the subject of controversy, most recently following the July 1, 2015, shooting of Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old Pleasanton native who was killed while walking on Pier 14.
An undocumented immigrant, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, is suspected of shooting Steinle. He was deported five times before the shooting and has a history of drug convictions.
Steinle’s family sued San Francisco because the sheriff’s department had released Lopez-Sanchez from jail a short time before the shooting without notifying immigration authorities, as dictated by city policy.
However, a federal judge threw out the family’s case against the city earlier this month, saying there was no law requiring the city to disclose his release date.
President Trump often used the shooting as an example of why he wanted to abolish sanctuary cities.
The Board of Supervisors voted in May to uphold and revise the sanctuary city policy to clarify that law enforcement would only notify immigration authorities of an inmate’s release in limited circumstances involving serious felonies.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee:
“The Bay Area is home to millions of people who have sought refuge and a chance at a better life. As mayors, we stand together in our responsibility to keep our cities safe and healthy and take care of all our residents and families, regardless of status. We will not give in to threats, or political grandstanding. Together, the Bay Area will stay true to our values of inclusiveness, compassion and equality, and united against any and all efforts to divide our residents, our cities, and our country.”
Bay City News contributed to this report