Feb. 1 (UPI) -- San Francisco filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump after he threatened to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.
Trump last week signed an executive order, in part, putting the country's local governments on notice that they would lose federal funding if they acted as sanctuary cities -- cities that do not deport undocumented immigrants despite federal law -- and if they do not cooperate with federal immigration agents.
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, San Francisco argues Trump's orders violate the Constitution's provisions protecting state rights, which extend to cities. There are about 400 sanctuary cities and counties in the United States.
"The president's executive order is not only unconstitutional, it's un-American," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. "That is why we must stand up and oppose it. We are a nation of immigrants and a land of laws. We must be the 'guardians of our democracy' that President [Barack] Obama urged us all to be in his farewell address."
Herrera said San Francisco could lose $1.2 billion a year in federal funding, which is mostly used for healthcare, nutrition and other programs for the city's poor.
San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989. Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and Acting U.S. Attorney General Dana J. Boente are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
"The executive order fosters an atmosphere of fear and distrust between undocumented immigrants and local government officials in San Francisco," the city's lawsuit says. "By heightening undocumented immigrants' concerns that any interaction with San Francisco officials will lead to their information being turned over to ICE, the executive order discourages undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes, seeking public health services, and otherwise engaging with San Francisco programs and services.
The same executive order directed the DHS to begin efforts to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.