Racine joins opposition of Trump’s threats to ‘sanctuary cities’

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine speaks at his 2015 inauguration. (Brian Kapur/The Current/January 2015)

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine submitted an amicus brief last week on behalf of the District and 10 states opposing the Trump administration’s threat to withhold federal grant funding from D.C. and other “sanctuary cities.”

The brief was filed in California v. Sessions, a challenge to the administration’s effort to cut off federal funding from jurisdictions that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The brief argues that state and local law enforcement agencies are best equipped to determine how to police their own communities.

A release from Racine’s office says that forcing local law enforcement to carry out federal immigration law is unlawful and risks the trust that members of immigrant communities need to have in local police.

“Local law enforcement agencies in the District and in jurisdictions across the country are focused on keeping residents safe by building and maintaining relationships of trust,” Racine said in the release. “Our communities are safer when residents can trust law enforcement, regardless of their immigration status. We have filed this brief to ensure that law-enforcement officials are able to protect local residents — including those in our immigrant communities.”

The Department of Justice has threatened to withhold grants from the District and 37 other jurisdictions, the release said. The case is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Racine led the brief’s drafting, which was also signed by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington state, according to the release.