In summary

At the bottom of a lengthy appendix to the president’s budget are a few paragraphs that would expand the definition of “sanctuary” jurisdiction and give the federal government new tools to punish cities, counties and states that do not comply with the new rules.

Buried below hundreds of pages of tables, figures, and charts, President Trump’s proposed budget includes a surprise revision of immigration law that would mark a major escalation in the legal standoff between the federal government and the Golden State over “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

At the bottom of a lengthy appendix to the budget released this week by the White House are a few paragraphs of fine print that would expand the definition of sanctuary jurisdiction and give the federal government new tools to punish cities, counties and states that do not comply with the new rules.

One proposed change would outlaw state and local rules that ban law enforcement agencies from holding suspected undocumented immigrants in custody at the request of federal authorities.

Additional language would bar local and state laws that restrict police and sheriff officers from sharing “relevant” information about an immigrant detainee’s “nationality, citizenship, immigration status, removability, scheduled release date and time, home address, work address or contact information” with the federal government.

The budget would also give the federal government a new enforcement mechanism: the ability to cutoff of federal funds. Federal grants relating to immigration, criminal justice, national security and terrorism could hinge on a jurisdiction’s willingness to cooperate with federal authorities.

The California Trust Act currently prohibits state and local law enforcement officers from keeping non-felons behind bars solely at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Advocates for immigrants and some law enforcement agencies say that requiring police and sheriffs to help in such matters could discourage members of immigrant communities from cooperating with law enforcement and could put those departments in legal jeopardy.

Opponents of the Trust Act and other sanctuary policies argue that local law enforcement agencies should not be barred from working with their federal counterparts.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera of San Francisco, a sanctuary city, said in a statement that the Trump administration was “trying to sneak major changes in the law through the back door because they cannot get them through the front.”

We want to hear from you

Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Gary Reed with any commentary questions: gary@calmatters.org, (916) 234-3081.

Ben Christopher

Ben covers California politics and elections. Prior to that, he was a contributing writer for CalMatters reporting on the state's economy and budget. Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, he has written...