Trump to punish sanctuary cities with loss of federal money; Oakland could lose $130m

President Trump’s executive order also restarts the
“Secure Communities” law enforcement program
that was discontinued in 2014.

SANCTUARY CITIES

President Trump’s executive order Wednesday seeking to punish sanctuary cities by halting federal grants could effect several East Bay cities, including Oakland which stands to lose $130 million in funding, a potentially devastating amount to its general budget.

Other East Bay cities, such as Berkeley and Alameda, which only declared itself a sanctuary city last week, could also see hits to its treasury. 

Trump’s directives Wednesday also set in motion his well-publicized wall on the U.S. southern border and reinstitutes the controversial deportation program discontinued in 2014 called “Secure Communities.”


“The American people are no longer going to have to be forced to subsidize this disregard for our laws,” said White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents all three cities and has been a strong voice in opposition to Trump and his policies, labeled his signature campaign promise as a “Wall of Hate.”

If the threat of losing federal dollars comes to pass, Oakland will find itself with a potentially debilitating $130 million hole in its already tight city budget. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “The Bay Area stands united against this White House’s morally bankrupt policies that would divide familie, turn our nation’s back on refugees in need, and potentially thwart the efforts of nearly one million productive young people who are on a legal path to citizenship.”

The pulling of federal funding in Oakland, added Schaaf, will harm education and law enforcement in the city. “We will not allow this president to play politics with our safety and security.”

Berkeley would face a loss of more than $11 million in federal dollars. Shortly after news of the executive order broke, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin pushed back, tweeting, “We won’t be intimidated by threats to cut funding to cities that believe in the fundamental notion that no person is illegal.”

Alameda’s exposure is significantly less than Oakland and Berkeley. The island receives just $2.5 million in federal grants, according a city audit last completed in 2015. Alameda elected officials sought to fast track it move toward becoming a sanctuary city to just before Trump’s swearing-in last Friday.

“We did the right thing. Doing the right thing isn’t always free,” said Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie, who led the push for sanctuary city status.

Oddie, however, believes Trump’s threat of stripping sanctuary cities of federal funding may ultimately mirror events that followed President Obama’s executive order in 2014 granting temporary citizenship to up to five million undocumented immigrants. The order was later litigated and blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court last June.

NOTE: This article was updated to included Mayor Schaaf’s comments.

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