San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is asking a federal court to block part of a presidential executive order that directs the Trump administration to strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.
President Trump issued the order just days after assuming office, and Herrera sued the following week. In a court filing on Wednesday, Herrera said the city can’t wait for the case to play out — or even for Trump to withhold the money — because they’re trying to craft a budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
In the filing, Herrera wrote that the consequences of what he calls a “presidential fiat” are “potentially catastrophic” — the city stands to lose as much as $2 billion — and San Francisco “cannot stand idly by waiting for the Executive Order’s uncertain process to unfold.”
“Withdrawing all — or even a substantial amount — of federal funding would be devastating to San Francisco: the City would be forced to reduce the number of first responders, suspend capital projects, and slash critical service programs,” he added.
The city would have to put money into a budget reserve to account for the potential loss of significant funds — and that money wouldn’t be available for other services and programs when the new fiscal year begins.
Though the Trump administration may clarify the scope of the order in the weeks and months to come, “there is no assurance they will,” and the city has to make decisions about a budget reserve by May 15. “San Francisco therefore has no choice but to seek this Court’s intervention now,” Herrera said.
As KQED has previously reported, there are serious legal questions about whether the Trump administration can withhold most federal dollars — questions Herrera brings up in the filing.