Despite frantic efforts this week by President Donald Trump to create the impression of accomplishment and bold action, the traditional first hundred-day "honeymoon" of the new administration comes to a close Saturday with an unprecedented 61 percent of Americans believing that the president is not trustworthy and the lowest public approval rating of a president ever measured.
In California and the Bay Area these numbers are likely much worse given Trump's poor performance here in the election.
The Trump administration's ongoing bluster, manic behavior and gyrating policy positions have inspired resistance at all levels of government, from Congress to state and local governments to the judiciary and from citizens across America.
Locally, we should be especially proud of the actions taken by Santa Clara County and the City of San Francisco to block the president's executive order denying federal funds to sanctuary cities, and of Rep. Anna Eshoo's push for a law requiring presidents to release their tax returns.
These two initiatives reflect the political viewpoints of voters in this region and the widespread belief that President Trump's executive orders pertaining to immigration are unconstitutional and threatening the health and safety of our immigrant communities.
Santa Clara County and San Francisco successfully obtained a preliminary injunction on Tuesday from U.S. District Judge William Orrick that will prevent the Trump administration from carrying out the president's order cutting off federal funds to any sanctuary city or county. Self-declared sanctuary communities are those that have adopted policies of not assisting federal immigration authorities, for example, by notifying them of undocumented immigrants arrested or in custody for alleged non-violent crimes.
The lawsuits are among several filed around the nation challenging the Trump's Jan. 25 executive order but were the first to receive a judicial ruling. Orrick's order applies nationwide until he hears full arguments on whether to make the temporary injunction permanent, and Trump officials pledged Wednesday to challenge the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
In his decision, Orrick said, "The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the president, so the (executive) order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds."
"Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration-enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves," Orrick ruled.
Local officials, including most police departments, believe that policies against cooperating with the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents are important to prevent widespread fear among undocumented immigrants to report crimes, attend schools and obtain health and other services to which they are legally entitled.
Contrary to popular belief, an undocumented person living in the United States is not violating any U.S. criminal laws and cannot be arrested or detained by local law enforcement for being in the country without authorization. Federal immigration policies are enforced by ICE strictly through civil deportation proceedings entirely separate from our normal judicial system and without many of the protections afforded by criminal defendants.
Meanwhile, Eshoo is leading an effort in the House of Representatives to enact a law requiring President Trump and all future presidents to release their tax returns. Eshoo insists the effort is neither political nor frivolous, as she believes bipartisan pressure to support the proposal will mount as Trump's tax measure moves forward in Congress. And since the one-page "tax reform" proposal announced Wednesday would appear to significantly benefit Trump and his companies, the demand for the release of Trump's tax returns will likely become part of the negotiations.
Regardless, we're glad Eshoo is pushing this legislation and attempting to get the 218 signatures needed to bring the bill directly to the floor for a vote, even if the ultimate outcome is a presidential veto.
Our local congressional delegation, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the City of San Francisco are doing the right thing to stand up to the president's bluster in every way possible.
"See you in the Supreme Court!" Trump tweeted indignantly Wednesday.