“The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce our nation’s laws, including our immigration laws”, he said from the White House.
Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday that Seattle is suing the federal government over recent threats to “sanctuary cities“. “We are not breaking any laws and we are prioritizing safety”, he said. “Based on various federal court rulings and our clear understanding of U.S. Constitutional provisions – including the Fourth, Fifth and 10 amendments – county leaders are already cooperating with federal immigration officials, including ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], when appropriate”.
If sanctuary cities are ignoring federal laws that protect American jobs and rid cities of violent illegal immigrants, then they deserve to be challenged, says William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, or ALIPAC.
The executive order, called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”, was signed by Trump in the early day of his presidency after a campaign where he pledged to be tough on illegal immigration.
Broadly, people use it to describe jurisdictions with policies and practices that limit local involvement in civil immigration enforcement.
“The goal of this lawsuit is to have the courts declare that the executive order is unconstitutional, is not lawful, is not under the rule of law, that they can not punish cities, and they can not for our local police officials to be involved in federal immigration activities”, said Murray.
Flanked by supporters, the Mayor and city attorney Pete Holmes said their offices are hearing from a very anxious immigrant population. “We will continue collaborating with them to help ensure that illegal aliens who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially harm individuals living within our communities”, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement. A report from the Department of Justice’s inspector general a year ago found that sanctuary cities such as Chicago are running afoul of this statute.
This has come as an outrage to elected officials in several “sanctuary cities”, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and NY, who have declared plans to buck the administration and potentially sue.
Mayor Murray has reiterated Seattle’s status as a sanctuary city for residents who are undocumented many times since Trump’s election this past November. It is entirely appropriate for the federal government to make law-enforcement funding conditional on jurisdictions not themselves ignoring the law.
“This is really important and emotional for both of us”, said Seattle City Councilmember Debra Juarez, standing next to Councilmember Lorena González, at the press conference.
Seattle is on track to receive $2.6 million in Justice Department grants that will support programs like domestic violence prevention, community policing, body cams, detecting internet crimes against children, and youth violence prevention in 2017.