In a victory for the City and County of San Francisco, California’s immigrants, and the state’s immigrant advocacy organizations, the Ninth Circuit affirmed an injunction blocking the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) from withholding federal criminal justice grants from California’s sanctuary cities. Historically, the DOJ has provided grants to state and local criminal justice programs based on a standard formula. In 2017, the DOJ announced new funding conditions aimed at compelling cities to give immigration agents access to local jails and alert them when immigrants are released. The City and County of San Francisco sued to block those conditions and obtained an injunction in district court. When the case went up on appeal, Sidley represented the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC) as amicus in support of the City and County of San Francisco. On behalf of the ILRC and AAAJ-ALC, Sidley argued that local participation in federal immigration enforcement impedes the fair administration of the law for California’s immigrants, imposes significant burdens on local governments, and blurs the line between federal immigration authorities and local law enforcement in a way that threatens public health, community welfare, and civic engagement. The Second Circuit split from the Ninth Circuit on the issue, which could lead to Supreme Court review.
The Sidley team includes partner Hardy Callcott and associate Naomi Igra (both from the firm’s San Francisco office) and associate Mark Prior (Los Angeles).