SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica indicated in a press release on Wednesday, March 22, that Santa Monica joined 33 cities and counties across the country in signing an amicus brief, requesting that the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issue a nationwide preliminary injunction to prohibit the enforcement of President Trump’s Executive Order 13768 in the case County of Santa Clara v. Trump. Santa Clara County’s lawsuit, which was filed on February 3, challenges the Administration’s policy to threaten to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary jurisdictions.”
Amici curiae, or friends of the court, argue that the Executive Order seeks to force local jurisdictions into helping the Federal Government by threatening to withhold funding authorized by Congress. As indicated in the press release, such punishment will result in increased local public health risks, safety risks, and a “massive transfer of unreimbursed federal expenses to local jurisdictions.” Amici also argued in the brief that the order is unlawful and unconstitutional, as it does not provide due process and violates the 10th Amendment by taking power from local agencies.
The brief states that participation in the Executive Order would “undermine public safety and go against the best judgment of the law enforcement officials who are most familiar with local communities.” Amici agrees that local authorities are best suited to assessing respective enforcement priorities, weighing different options, making judgments to promote the safety of their own communities, and deciding how to deploy their own resources.
“California has a sovereign right and responsibility to protect the safety and the constitutional rights of its residents, and that is what we will continue to do,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who filed the amici brief on Wednesday.
Enforcement of federal immigration laws, such as collecting and producing information about immigration status from victims or witnesses of crimes, would thwart jurisdictions’ missions of preventing crime and protecting people. Testimonies have shown that victims would rather not risk going to local authorities to report crimes, for fear of being turned in to federal immigration authorities.
“There are fears that residents won’t seek healthcare or report crimes if they’re afraid of deportation, which could pose public health and safety risks to others in the community,” said Santa Monica spokeswoman Constance Farrell to the Los Angeles Times.
A cut in one jurisdiction would place greater burden on adjacent jurisdictions. A nationwide injunction would provide effective relief to the cities and counties across the country.
“Today, 34 cities and counties from across the nation joined together to stand up for the health and safety of their communities and oppose President Trump’s ill-conceived and unconstitutional Executive Order that would require local jurisdictions to perform federal immigration work or risk losing unrelated federal funding,” said Kelly Dermody, Managing Partner of the San Francisco Office of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann and Bernstein, LLP.
“Local jurisdictions are in the best position to set these priorities and they understand that driving some residents underground in fear of any interaction with local authorities makes every resident in that community, and those adjacent, less safe.”
Los Angeles and West Hollywood are among the cities and counties arguing against the Executive Order.
“Los Angeles is proud to join jurisdictions across our nation in opposing this unlawful executive order,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer in a statement.
A motion hearing is set for April 5, 2017. The case is ongoing. Listed below are the cities and counties that have joined the amicus:
Albany, New York
East Palo Alto, California
Jersey City, New Jersey
Los Angeles, California
Menlo Park, California
Morgan Hill, California
New Orleans, Louisiana
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Salt Lake City, Utah
Santa Ana, California
Santa Clara, California
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Monica, California
West Hollywood, California
Alameda County, California
Cook County, Illinois
King County, Washington
Los Angeles County, California
Marin County, California
Monterey County, California
Municipality of Princeton, New Jersey
Santa Cruz County, California
Sonoma County, California
A copy of the brief may be viewed on the LCHB website.