Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Seattle Joins Other 'Sanctuary Cities' In Denouncing President's Immigration Orders

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray affirms the city's "sanctuary city" status at a November press conference.
Elaine Thompson
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray affirms the city's "sanctuary city" status at a November press conference.

Seattle and many other "sanctuary cities" are pushing back on the latest executive orders signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump.

The orders deal in part with Trump's campaign promise to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. It also gives broad power to federal immigration authorities, imploring local law enforcement to participate in a crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

That requirement is problem for a city like Seattle, which does not allow police or other agencies to ask about a person's citizenship status.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon at City Hall, several city officials affirmed the city's position, saying that tracking down undocumented immigrant's is not the city's job.

"Being undocumented in this country, barring any criminal activity, is a federal civil violation not enforced by the Seattle Police Department," Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole said, quoting department policy.

The orders also threaten to pull grant funding from sanctuary jurisdictions. Mayor Ed Murray said Seattle should prepare.

"We spent a lot of time during the election talking about the terrible things that might happen. The last five days have [proven] that it's going to happen," Murray said. "I'm willing to lose every penny to protect those people."

Murray estimated that the city gets about $75 million from the feds, but it's not yet clear exactly which funds the president could take away.

According to the mayor, one area where where the president might have some solid legal footing is the roughly $10 million that goes to the Seattle Police.  That funding is used in several ways, including programs to combat human trafficking and internet crimes against children, O'Toole said.

Murray, members of the City Council and City Attorney Pete Holmes also brought up the possibility of taking legal action against the federal government as the orders are carried out. 

A Seattle native and former knkx intern, Simone Alicea has returned to the Pacific Northwest from covering breaking news at the Chicago Sun-Times. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.
Related Content