Mayor Ed Murray announces city lawsuit against Trump administration for immigration executive order

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the federal government would seek to withhold grant monies from ‘sanctuary cities.’ This came months after President Donald Trump signed an executive order into law Jan. 25 that would target undocumented immigrants and ‘sanctuary cities.’

The term ‘sanctuary cities’ refers to municipalities that have protections in place for undocumented immigrants, or otherwise do not have law enforcement ask someone about their legal status.

Withholding grant monies from such cities is written into the executive order as such: “…jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable federal law do not receive federal funds, except as mandated by law…”

Sessions indicated cities that didn’t follow certain federal immigration provisions were putting residents at risk.

But Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has challenged that argument, and now his office is taking legal action. At a press conference Wednesday, he said:

Let me be clear about the facts. We are not breaking any laws and we are prioritizing safety. And let me be clear about the president’s executive order. It is violating the law. It is unconstitutional.

Today the city of Seattle filed a lawsuit in United States District Court against President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, Homeland Security Chief Director John Kelly and that outlines precisely why the president’s order is illegal.

First, the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution says that the federal government cannot specify how local governments must go about enforcing federal law. Yet that is exactly what the president’s order does. Second, the U.S. Constitution says that the federal government may not coerce local governments by denying them federal dollars…if they are not germane to the program in question. Yet that is exactly what the president’s order does. Once again this new admin has decided to bully but bullying and misstating the facts will not stand in the way of making sure that the laws, the real laws in this country, are enforced. It is particularly galling to hear the Attorney General say that Seattle isn’t prioritizing safety. When we welcome immigrants into our community, dedicate resources to helping immigrants on a pathway to citizenship, and warmly integrate immigrant school children into our schools and classrooms, we do this because as a welcoming city, it fosters safety. It’s when you marginalize people, and drive them away from city services, and make them fearful of the police, and push them underground that these communities become unsafe and then the city of Seattle becomes unsafe.

Murray followed up the press conference with a series of Tweets, condemning the White House’s executive order, and Sessions’ statements this week.

Erin Fenner: erin@washingtonstatewire.com, @erinfenner

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