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The opposition to President Trump’s attempt to defund “sanctuary jurisdictions” is expanding.

On March 22, 2017, fourteen California cities and counties filed an amicus brief in support of the motions for preliminary injunction filed by Santa Clara and San Francisco in the federal court in San Francisco. They are joined by fifteen other groups that filed amicus briefs to support the motions.

The Court will hear Santa Clara’s motion for preliminary injunction on April 5, 2017, and San Francisco’s motion on April 12, 2017.

The amicus brief was filed by the County of Alameda, City of Berkeley, City of Davis, City of East Palo Alto, City of Fremont, County of Marin, County of Monterey, City of Mountain View, City of Oakland, City of Richmond, City of Salinas, City of San Jose, City of Santa Cruz and City of Santa Rosa. The amicus brief is attached here.

The cities and counties argue that, like Santa Clara and San Francisco, they face irreparable harm from the Trump Executive Order, which violates the Separation of Powers, the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment and the Tenth Amendment. The amicus brief makes the following points:

  • Cities and counties exist not for their own sake, but for the sake of residents, many of them vulnerable, whose welfare they are charged with protecting and nourishing.
  • This is budget season and cities and counties must pass balanced budgets by June 30. For many cities, federal funds provide the lion’s share to support low cost housing, public transit, community centers, job training, infrastructure improvements and other programs. For counties, federal funds provide a safety net for health care and other human services.
  • The fear of losing federal funds – or worse, not receiving reimbursement for services already provided – is well founded. Among other things, the Executive Order broadly directs the Attorney General to take action against “any entity” that “has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.” Department of Homeland Security reports already identify states, cities and counties throughout the country as potential sanctuary jurisdictions.
  • Some cities and counties have explicit policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, consistent with state and federal law. Others may have no explicit policy at all, but nonetheless may end up on the federal government’s list of “sanctuary” jurisdictions given the breadth of the Executive Order.

For more information, please contact Linda Ross (, 510-995-5807) or Jon Holtzman (, 415-678-3807).