SFALP students were instrumental in filing the first lawsuit in the nation challenging Executive Order 13768: “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” Signed by President Trump on January 25, 2017, the order sought to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary jurisdictions” that do not affirmatively help enforce federal immigration law. In San Francisco v. Trump, the City asserted that the executive order caused significant constitutional, budgetary, and community harms. On November 20, 2017, federal judge William H. Orrick issued a nationwide permanent injunction against the Executive Order, blocking the Trump administration from stripping sanctuary cities of billions of dollars in federal funds. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the merits of Judge Orrick’s ruling on August 1, 2018, upholding the injunction with respect to San Francisco and remanding the nationwide injunction to the district court for further factual consideration.
San Francisco filed a second lawsuit in August 2017 in response to another federal attack on sanctuary cities. In San Francisco v. Sessions I, San Francisco challenged as unconstitutional new conditions that the U.S. Department of Justice imposed on 2017 federal law enforcement grants to state and local governments. The City argued that the conditions represented a clear attempt to use federal funding to coerce localities to abandon their sanctuary policies. On October 5, 2018, Judge Orrick agreed, holding the conditions’ content and imposition unconstitutional and affirming that San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinances comply with federal law.
The Trump administration has continued to try to weaponize federal funds to push cities to give up their sanctuary status, imposing a modified set of conditions on 2018 federal law enforcement grants to state and local governments. Accordingly, San Francisco filed San Francisco v. Sessions III in August 2018 to challenge the altered conditions. The litigation remains ongoing.
SFALP helped secure a $400,000 settlement from immigration consultants Lacayo & Associates and its principals Leonard Lacayo and Ada Lacayo, whom the City Attorney sued in August 2016 for perpetrating an illegal immigration scam—an example of "predatory" notario fraud. This means the firm was offering legal services without having the necessary qualifications to do so. The case alleged that the Lacayos' business defrauded customers by charging large fees for services they did not—and legally could not—provide. In addition to the $400,000 payment, the settlement agreement required the Lacayos to cease any immigration-related services and remove references to those services from social media or advertising.