California to sue Trump administration over sanctuary policy

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - California plans to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over federal restrictions on some law enforcement grants to so-called sanctuary cities, a spokesperson for California's attorney general office said on Monday.

The city of San Francisco filed its own lawsuit against the department late last week, saying the federal government has improperly sought to force local jurisdictions to enforce national immigration law by imposing funding conditions.

President Donald Trump issued a broad executive order in January targeting wide swaths of federal funding for cities that generally offer illegal immigrants safe harbor by declining to use municipal resources to enforce federal immigration laws.

RELATED: A look at U.S. sanctuary cities

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Sanctuary Cities in the USA
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Sanctuary Cities in the USA

Washington, DC

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New York City, New York

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Jersey City, New Jersey

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Los Angeles, California

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

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San Francisco, California

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San Diego, California

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San Jose, California

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Oakland, California

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Salt Lake City, Utah

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Houston, Texas

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Detroit, Michigan 

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Chicago, Illinois 

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Minneapolis, Minnesota 

(Photo: Rudy Balasko)

Denver, Colorado

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Baltimore, Maryland

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Seattle, Washington

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Portland, Oregon

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New Haven, Connecticut 

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Cambridge, Massachusetts

(Photo: Cassandra Hubbart, AOL)

Portland, Maine

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However, a San Francisco judge drastically limited the scope of that policy.

The Justice Department has sought to impose conditions on a national grant for local law enforcement that mandates access to local jails for federal immigration officials, as well as 48 hours notice before releasing anyone wanted for immigration violations.

California's planned lawsuit challenging those conditions, as well as San Francisco's case, is similar to a legal challenge filed last week by the city of Chicago.

In a statement on Monday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state, not the federal government, is best suited to determine how best to allocate its law enforcement resources.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Sessions slams Rahm Emanuel for promoting 'lawlessness' with sanctuary lawsuit

"When President Trump threatened to defund our local law enforcement's ability to do its job and protect our people, he picked the wrong fight," Becerra said.

A Justice Department spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment. (Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by James Dalgleish and Dan Grebler)

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