Menlo Park could back lawsuits against 'sanctuary city' order | March 15, 2017 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - March 15, 2017

Menlo Park could back lawsuits against 'sanctuary city' order

by Kate Bradshaw

When Menlo Park's City Council met on March 14, it was scheduled to decide whether it would take a stand against President Trump's Jan. 25 executive order, which states that so-called "sanctuary" jurisdictions should be denied federal grants if they "willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States."

Go to for updates. The meeting was held after the Almanac went to press.

The question before the council was whether Menlo Park should join as a "friend of the court" in lawsuits brought by Santa Clara County and San Francisco challenging the executive order. So far, at least 27 people have emailed the council expressing support for this action.

Councilman Ray Mueller, who proposed that the question be put on the council's agenda, said that Menlo Park will suffer adverse effects if the threats are carried out against Santa Clara County, which could lose as much as $1.7 billion of its budget.

That funding goes toward infrastructure projects and social services for low-income and homeless people, he said. Without that funding, traffic and infrastructure conditions would worsen across the region, and there would be more homeless and needy people not getting help regionally.

Sanctuary cities

Definitions vary, but "sanctuary" cities or jurisdictions generally provide protections for undocumented residents. Typically, this means that police do not ask people about their immigration status or cooperate with federal immigration officials to detain people in the justice system longer than they would otherwise be kept in custody.

"Irrespective of where a person falls on the sanctuary city issue, one thing we should all be able to agree on is that local jurisdictions shouldn't be bullied into losing their infrastructure funding and funding for public services based on local control decisions," Mr. Mueller said.

Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to file a lawsuit against President Trump on Jan. 31. The deadline for other groups to submit "friend of the court" briefs is March 22.

The Menlo Park City Council is scheduled to discuss whether the city should pass a "sanctuary city" ordinance at its April 4 meeting, according to Mayor Kirsten Keith.


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