By Matt Fleming.

President Donald Trump last Wednesday said his administration would block federal funding for cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration laws, with Democratic leaders in the state vowing to fight back.

A handful of California cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, have so-called “sanctuary” policies, which prompted the federal action. And in a statement of defiance, Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon said he would fast track his bill to make California a sanctuary state.

“(T)he Senate will expedite the process to pass my bill, SB54, to prevent state and local tax dollars and law enforcement resources from being used to help ICE destroy families and damage our economy,” the Los Angeles Democrat said.

But even as Democratic leaders strongly push to protect the sanctuary policies, the public is split. A Hoover Institution poll from earlier this month showed that 40 percent of voters support sanctuary policies, while 41 oppose (19 percent didn’t seem to care either way).

De Leon called the move “unconstitutional” and said the state would fight Trump in Congress and in court.

The money is not insignificant. For example, Los Angeles is slated to receive $523 million this year in federal funding, while the state will receive around $95 billion.

California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said in a statement that the executive orders don’t change, and cannot contradict, existing law.

“Executive orders can be challenged for violating constitutional and legal standards in their enforcement,” Becerra said.

While a legal battle could take years (perhaps beyond a Trump presidency), the stage may be set for funding fights in Congress.

De Leon’s bill will be heard this week in committee.

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Originally posted at Cal Watchdog.