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San Francisco DA calls Trump's threat on sanctuary city funding ‘spiteful’ and ‘repulsive’

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“If realized, that threat means less funding for programming that treats trauma in victims of crime in predominantly African American neighborhoods”

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon speaks during a news conference at the Hall of Justice, 2015.
Photo by AP Photo/Josh Edelson

Earlier this year a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration could not withhold funding from sanctuary cities, like San Francisco. In response, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on Monday, one that not only defined sanctuary cities (a more narrow version this time around) but also promised to prune all grants from the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department.

Sessions’ memo says this would only affect cities that “willfully refuse to comply” with a 1996 federal law that demands federal, state, and local governments to hand over information about someone’s immigration status. San Francisco is one such place.

On the heels of Sessions’ missive, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón issued the following statement:

The Trump administration just got a reality check of constitutional proportions. While sanctuary jurisdictions across the country may breathe a sigh of relief that the broader threat of reduced funding has been fought off, the administration has indicated a continuing desire to defund grants issued by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

In San Francisco, if realized, that threat means less funding for programming that treats trauma in victims of crime in predominantly African American neighborhoods. It means less funding for police officers tasked with reducing quality of life crimes. And it means less resources for programming that reduces the likelihood that young adults and individuals with substance abuse problems will reoffend.

In an effort to punish immigrants and jurisdictions with a pragmatic approach to public safety that brings the undocumented out of the shadows, the President has demonstrated a spiteful willingness to cut off funding that benefits young adults, communities of color, and individuals with substance abuse issues. Harming the broader community in an effort to target undocumented immigrants is a repulsive form of hatred and xenophobia.

In January, San Francisco filed suit against the Trump administration over sanctuary city orders. City Attorney Dennis Herrera called Trump’s executive order “unconstitutional and un-American.”