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Home News + Politics Trump orders to strip federal dollars for sanctuary cities; is SF up for the fight?

Trump orders to strip federal dollars for sanctuary cities; is SF up for the fight?

Immigrant-rights lawyers talk about what this city needs to do

Attorneys Angela Chan and Saira Hussain at Asian Law Caucus talk to us about ways in which San Francisco should prepare for possible ICE raids. Photo still: Sana Saleem

 On Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s officers visited a home in San Francisco’s Mission allegedly looking for a “sex offender” sought for deportation. This came a day after President Trump signed an executive order to strip federal funding from cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. This story is part of a series of stories looking at San Francisco’s fight to remain a sanctuary city. 


As the city reeled with the elections results, Saira Hussain and Angela Chan, of the Asian Law Caucus, went to work with one thing on their mind: a way forward to ensure the rights of immigrants were protected under Trump’s administration. 

“The city agencies need to be incredibly clear that they will have a plan in place in case they get something like a subpoena or if hostile federal agents start asking for documents that they should not be privy to,” said Hussain who is a staff attorney, Criminal Justice Reform at Asian Law Caucus. Hussain added that city agencies should be made aware that the City Attorney should be handling all requests from the federal government: “It needs to be a pretty clear plan so it’s not like an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s) officer  comes to a school and the principle says I guess you can come in,” she said.

Chan is worried about the San Francisco Police Department complying with ICE request despite the city’s sanctuary status: “It has happened in the past where the SFPD responded to an immigration warrant request just in the last year or two. They claimed that they didn’t know but they need to be trained,” she said.

Chan also pointed out that one of SFPD’s biggest problem is the language barrier that causes a lot of issues with the monolingual members of the immigrant community: “Most people are scared to talk to the police because they think they will be wrongly arrested and handed over to the immigration authorities,” she said. 

Chan and Hussain said they weren’t going to risk waiting for President Trump to come into office like many of their counterparts they began their work expecting the worse.

On Wednesday, these fears were signed into reality as President Trump signed an executive order to strip federal funding from cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Since then the city’s leadership and community organisers have come together to denounce the order and reaffirmed San Francisco’s sanctuary city status. 

“Let me tell you about our America, our City. In our America, people are equal, no matter race, religion,gender or sexual orientation. In America we embrace our differences and understand they make us stronger and more vibrant. We are a sanctuary city, now, tomorrow, forever,” said Mayor Lee during his state of the city address earlier today. 

Chan says even though Trump is unprecedented, the city has fought back ICE before,  Chan was around in 2008 when  there were a series of ICE raids in the bay area that saw the arrest of over 1100 people across California: “I think what’s important is that all students are trained, hospital staff are trained, even all police department staff are trained. People’s right to remain silent when ICE approaches them, ICE isn’t allowed into anyone’s home they need a warrant signed by a judge and even then that individual doesn’t need to let them into the home they could step out and not allow access to the family members,” she said. 

On Tuesday, the day before President Trump signed the executive order, the Board of Supervisors approved $1.5 million in additional funding for nonprofit groups to defend undocumented immigrants from deportation in court.

The Asian Law Caucus is one the many organisations leading San Francisco’s fight to remain a sanctuary despite the odds. 


  1. The mayors of the largest East Coast cities have all been preparing for legal challenges of Satan’s threat to cut off federal funding and there is strong case law in the cities favor. These federal orders are not as simple as they seem. For example he can order the military to execute anyone who didn’t vote for him but that doesn’t mean the order will be followed. The order has to be crafted in a particular manner and directed at the appropriate agency.
    There was a headline this week that read “Trump orders Department of Homeland Security to build wall on Mexican border” the Department of Homeland Security are the folks who check people’s passports at the airports. Are they supposed to stop at Home Depot to buy building materials?meaningless orders directed at the wrong agency are not going to yield results.

  2. Oh yeah, protect the “sex offenders” smdh! Stop sanctuary cities!
    Kate Steinle’s life MATTERED!
    The Bologna family’s lives MATTERED!

  3. God forbid criminal aliens, particularly those who are “sex offenders” (quotes from Sana – who evidently has a problem understanding what that concept entails), face arrest and deportation!

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