Millions in local funding could hinge on defintion of 'sanctuary city'

Posted at 6:39 AM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-26 09:39:21-05

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of millions of dollars for local programs could be going away and it all hinges on President Trumps definition of “sanctuary city.”

10news reporter Michael Chen asked Mayor Kevin Faulcouer is San Diego is technically a "sanctuary city."

“We're not,” he responded.

San Diego's mayor says no, but is he right?          

President Trump has vowed to end grant funding for communities that harbor undocumented immigrants. On many conservative-leaning websites, San Diego is listed as considered a sanctuary city. Right now, local law enforcement don’t ask for immigration status unless a person commits a crime.

Also a 2013 state law banned local agencies from holding people for extra time on behalf of i.c.e, and the sheriff's department follows that policy.

But Mayor Falcouner told 10News that San Diego isn't fitting of that sanctuary label because after an arrest, a background check is done  and information on immigration status is given to the Feds. I.C.E. is also informed of the release date.

So-called sanctuary cities like San Francisco don't forward that information.

“We have a system that works in San Diego.  We're one of the safest big cities in America, and the reason is we have that police department collaboration with our neighborhoods, with our communities. We for very closely with our federal partners,” Mayor Faulconer said.

Sources say the city's lobbyists in Washington DC are trying to determine if that's good enough to avoid President Trump's “sanctuary city” label/

On the line: more than $720 million in federal money for the county and more than $8 million for the city of San Diego.

That money includes law enforcement grants that have funded things like cameras on police helicopters, and community development grants that fund many of our homeless shelters.

10News pressed the mayor on whether he would resist any efforts to change that policy.

“Yes, our policy has worked very, very well and will continue to work well,” Mayor Faulconer said.

A sheriff's department spokesperson says they'll be evaluating any new policies from the president to make sure they're consistent with both state and federal laws. A sheriff’s department spokesperson issued this statement on President Trump’s sanctuary city order:

The Sheriff's Department will evaluate any new or changing legislation to determine if the current immigration policies are consistent with the Department 's commitment to adhere to the laws of the State of California and the United States while also providing the provide the highest levels of law enforcement services to the citizens of San Diego County.”