The Salinas City Council voted unanimously to file a lawsuit because of the administration’s threat to withhold federal funding to cities that declare themselves in opposition to federal immigration policies.
"It is my opinion that any attempt by the federal government to withhold federal funding from Salinas should it become a sanctuary city would be an unconstitutional act. Certainly, the federal government would disagree with that, which would likely result in the city losing federal funding while the city fought to protect itself and its residents, who have come to rely on that funding for essential programs, including programs for street and road repairs and firefighter positions. If the funding is lost, those programs are lost and all of Salinas's residents end up suffering,” City Attorney Chris Callihan said at a press conference after the closed session vote.
“There has been a lot of discussion across the community about sanctuary cities. I understand and respect the opinion and depth of feeling of those who believe Salinas should declare sanctuary city status. And I share the desire to show our hard-working, law-abiding immigrant population that we support and value them. But in my opinion, approving a resolution declaring the city a sanctuary city would have only symbolic value... It would do nothing to protect the city's residents or keep families together,” Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter said in a statement issued by the city late Wednesday afternoon.