Questions, answers about funding threats to sanctuary cities

Posted April 01, 2017

Weeks before Sessions' warning that the Department of Justice would cut off federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate, the Department of Homeland Security started publishing a list of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

Seattle's lawsuit, one of many legal responses expected of major sanctuary jurisdictions, comes three days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Department of Justice would pull federal grants from cities and counties that refuse to assist the administration in detaining and deporting criminal aliens.

"We intend to use all the lawful authority we have to make sure our state and local officials who are so important to law enforcement are in sync with the federal government", Sessions said. "We are not breaking any laws and we are prioritizing safety". Seattle is considered a sanctuary city by most definitions, largely due to a 2003 ordinance that bars law enforcement officials from inquiring about residents' immigration status.

With Wednesday's lawsuit, Murray joins San Francisco in bringing legal action against the administration for its January 25 executive order that called for a freeze in federal funding to sanctuary cities-cities that direct their law enforcement officers to withhold the legal status of immigrants who are arrested.

Mayor Bill de Blasio visits an Astoria senior center pushing his proposed Mansion Tax which was overshadowed by the Trump administration's threats towards sanctuary cities. "It is time for cities to stand up and ask the courts to put an end to the anxiety in our cities and the chaos in our system". The federal law referenced by the Attorney General (8 U.S.C. 1373) does not require any state or local jurisdiction to honor immigration detainers.

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Supporters of the new policies hailed Sessions' declaration.

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. In the suit, the City of Seattle seeks a declaration that it is acting consistently with federal law and that the U.S. Constitution precludes application of the Order to deny it federal funds to which it is otherwise entitled. 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. According to documents provided to by Holmes' office, the Trump administration has not yet provided any answers to the city's FOIA inquiries.

"Local governments do not enforce federal law". The suit claims that the policy amounts to an unconstitutional federal coercion that violates the Tenth Amendment, which helps guarantee state's rights.

"Inconsistent and incorrect statements from the Trump Administration have created too much fear and uncertainty".