On Wednesday, hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order denying federal grant funds to cities such as San Francisco with "sanctuary city" policies limiting local law enforcement's cooperation with federal immigration authorities, the mayors of the Bay Area's three largest cities spoke out against it.
San Francisco receives around $1 billion in funding from the federal government across all categories but Mayor Ed Lee today 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.
"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.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican citizen with a history of drug convictions and deportations, was arrested an hour later and charged with killing her with a gun that had been stolen from the car of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger.
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.
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.
The Mayors of Bay Area's three largest cities, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose, and the City of Berkeley, reaffirmed their commitment to working together to address the many challenges the region faces from growing income inequality, lack of affordable housing, better education outcomes, job creation and transportation infrastructure improvement.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also vowed to take a regional approach to combat the impacts of any threatened cuts in federal funding which would effect their residents.
"The Bay Area stands united against this White House’s morally bankrupt policies that would divide families, turn our nation’s back on refugees in need, and potentially thwart the efforts of nearly one million productive young people who are on a legal path to citizenship," Schaaf said. "Oaklanders rely on $130 million in federal funding for everything from early education programs like Head Start to getting officers out of their cars and onto our streets at a time when community policing is so desperately needed. We will not allow this president to play politics with our safety and security.”
Liccardo said that nothing about the president's executive order will change how San Jose cops police the city. "The San Jose Police Department’s longstanding policies relating to immigration enforcement are critical to keeping our community safe," he said. "Our police officers must focus their scarce time responding to and investigating violent, predatory and other high-priority crimes – not the enforcement of federal tax laws, federal securities laws, or federal immigration laws."