Seattle Sues Trump
City Takes President Back to Court Over Sanctuary Status
By Chloe Marina Manchester
Mayor Ed Murray announced, in a press conference on Wednesday, that the city of Seattle will be suing the Trump administration. This is following a Monday statement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying that the Justice Department plans to withhold up to $4.1 billion in federal grant money from “sanctuary cities”—a general term for different municipalities that refuse to comply with requests from immigration agents, such as Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), to detain immigrants who currently lack legal documentation. ICE classifies at least 118 jurisdictions as sanctuaries.
In his Monday statement, Sessions said that policies of sanctuary cities “Make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals on our streets.”
The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court in Seattle, citing concerns that the Executive Order signed by Trump in January creates uncertainty over the city’s budget. No funds have been yet been withheld from Seattle. The suit is directed against Trump, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Mayor Murray said Wednesday, “We are not breaking any laws and we are prioritizing safety. Bullying and misstating the facts will not stand in the way of how the real laws of this country are enforced.”
Through the suit, Seattle is asking that a federal court declare that Seattle is not breaking any laws by refusing to join the Trump administration’s effort to strictly enforce federal immigration laws because they don’t hinder federal agents from doing their job. Seattle is also asking a judge to rule on whether the executive branch has violated the 10th Amendment, which limits the government’s power to commandeer state entities to enforce federal regulations. The suit also dispute’s the administration’s claims that undocumented immigrants lead to more crime, a claim which has been unsupported by evidence.
Other sanctuary cities and counties also say that despite the claims made in the Executive Order instructing the funding cut they have not seen a rise in crimes or death due to their approaches to immigration policy. Judge Sarah Eckhardt, of Travis County Texas told NPR’s Morning Edition, “We have a very safe community in Travis County. You know, of course we’re a border state, and we’ve always been Mexican and American. And we have an enviable crime rate. We have the lowest crime rate of any major metropolitan in Texas. They feel willing to come forward and hold perpetrators of crime accountable irrespective of where the victim was born or where the perpetrator was born.”
According to the city’s lawsuit, during 2017, Seattle set to receive more than $55 million in federal funds. The city has plans to use that money to provide housing to homeless people, investigate human trafficking, and keep predators away from children online, among other programs.