President Trump is ramping up immigration raids and telling cities that refuse to help federal agents — sanctuary cities — that they risk the loss of millions in federal dollars.
Now,Seattle is suing President Donald Trump over his executive order that threatens to withhold federal funds from communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally.
Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday the executive order issued in January punishing “sanctuary cities” is unconstitutional.
“This week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told American cities they are breaking the law in making their communities unsafe,” said Murray. “Apparently, the Trump Administration, their war on facts has now become a war on cities.”
“Our values of inclusion, of community, our values are the values we will stand by.”
The action comes just two days after Sessions called for an end of “sanctuary cities,” saying the Justice Department would deny grant money to cities that violate a federal law dealing with information-sharing among local police and federal authorities.
Murray said the federal government cannot compel the city’s police department to enforce federal immigration law. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, says the executive order creates uncertainty around the city’s budget.
“Local governments do not enforce federal law. We are prohibited from doing so and moreover, even if we did, given this administration that would like to commandeer our resources and enforce federal law, we would face civil liability, ironically, under federal law.”
“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 cannot punish cities, and they cannot for our local police officials to be involved in federal immigration activities,” said Murray. “That’s what we’re seeking from the courts.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice said that failing to deport undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes would make the U.S. less safe, failing to serve the national interest.
“The expectation that the federal government will enforce our immigration laws is reasonable, and our government has a duty to meet it. And we will meet it,” said Ian D. Prior, a DOJ spokesperson.
There is not a hearing date set yet, and the defendants have 60 days to respond, according to a city spokesperson.
San Francisco sued Trump over the sanctuary cities issue earlier this year, also saying his order was unconstitutional. A hearing for that lawsuit is set for April 14.