By Phil Matier

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The federal government on Monday spelled out its plan to punish sanctuary cities.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions penned a memo Monday afternoon detailing what money the federal government plans to withhold from sanctuary jurisdictions.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera was quick to dismiss the latest order by President Donald Trump administration saying that the feds will only withhold money to sanctuary cities from programs overseen by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.

That’s a far cry from the threat of holding back billions of dollars for transportation, education and health.

Herrera said, “If we are only talking about cops funding, that’s about $4 or $5 billion nationwide, and here in San Francisco it’s not that much.”

In Alameda County, they are looking at losing about $15 million for community policing – still, it’s a lot less than the original threat.

At least for now.

Herrera said, “That’s what it says now, but the Executive Order itself at the very beginning said this was going to impact a very broad range of federal funding. In fact, much broader than they’re saying now. So, that’s why we need some clarity from the court.”

Sanctuary cities have been a hot button issue nationwide, in part over the 2015 death of Kate Steinle, who was shot in San Francisco in broad daylight while walking along the waterfront by a recently released petty drug dealer who had been deported five times.

Herrera said, “We have policies in place that would ensure that there is cooperation with the federal government when they provide us with a court order. So, there’s nothing that has changed in respect to how we operate sanctuary city.”

Herrera hopes a court ruling will bring clarity.

Herrera said, “The way this administration changes what they say from one day to the other, you never know what’s certain and what’s uncertain. So let’s get a court to issue that definitive ruling.”

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