Seattle mayor, city attorney sue Trump over 'sanctuary city' threats

Posted April 01, 2017

It's in response to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' threat to withhold federal grant money from "sanctuary cities" - an unofficial term for cities that don't fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday threatened to pull funding from cities that refuse to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing US immigration law.

"Sanctuary cities" offer safe harbor to undocumented immigrants who may face deportation by federal law enforcement officials. The City of Denver, and every local jurisdiction in the state, is in compliance with federal immigration law. Only days after the staggering healthcare defeat, Sessions threatened to cut more than four billion dollars in federal funding from local jurisdictions that violate federal immigration law.

"This lawsuit represents Seattle's attempt to mute histrionics in favor of a plain statement of the law", Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes said Wednesday. "We will remain a city welcoming of immigrants who have helped make our city the safest big city in the nation", de Blasio said.

Murray said the suit was filed Wednesday at U.S. District Court against the Trump administration. They also vowed to prevent federal agents from accessing their schools and school records, and they openly contemplated employing cities' rarely-used oversight and subpoena powers to investigate federal immigration practices.

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Somerville was recently listed on a Department of Homeland Security report citing jurisdictions with policies that limit cooperation with ICE.

Cities could miss out on grants that pay for an array of policing programs, including crime lab technology, crime prevention efforts, equipment and other services.

The city expects to receive at least $55 million in federal funds this year to bolster its operating costs and another $99 million on infrastructure projects. But Murray argues the administration's threats and coercive tactics amount to a breach of the 10th Amendment, which states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people".

In early March, his office updated the guidance, making clear the Trump administration's policies don't change local governments' right to protect their immigrant communities.

During the latter half of President George W. Bush's administration, the use of detainers expanded as more and more local jails shared fingerprint information from inmates with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which in turned shared the information with ICE. Those requests ask local jails to hold suspected undocumented immigrants for federal officials. "Public safety depends on trust between law enforcement and those they bravely serve; yet, again and again, President Trump's draconian policies only serve to undercut that trust".