Seattle sues Trump administration over sanctuary city orders

'Sanctuary Cities' Promise Legal Fight After Sessions Threatens Funds

The Justice Department warned sanctuary cities and counties this week that they will not receive federal grants if the continue to fail to work with the crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

The announcement comes on the heels of a renewed threat from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said he'd withhold Department of Justice law enforcement grants from what are known as "sanctuary cities".

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a Monday statement, "Despite what Attorney General Sessions implied this afternoon, state and local governments and law enforcement have broad authority under the Constitution to not participate in federal immigration enforcement". The same executive order dictates that "sanctuary jurisdictions" that don't comply with US Code 1373 will be stripped of federal grant funding.

Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino said his city does not violate any federal law.

If cities and states believe the law should be changed, then they must to go to the Congress to advocate changes, but unless and until changes are made, the law really is the law and it must be followed. He said not cooperating with the federal government makes communities less-safe.

On Wednesday Mayor Murray filed suit in district court claiming in part the executive order can not force the city's police department to enforce federal immigration laws.


Somerville was recently listed on a Department of Homeland Security report citing jurisdictions with policies that limit cooperation with ICE.

"And I applaud Jeff Sessions, and anyone in the country or the Trump administration, that would stand up to them and take action", he says.

Supporters of the new policies hailed Sessions' declaration. President Trump has repeatedly threatened to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.

That famously liberal city is also where an illegal immigrant, previously deported five times, shot and killed Kate Steinle (pictured above) in 2015 as she visited a pier with her family. While led by the City, other jurisdictions are welcome and encouraged to join this effort. But other grants went to smaller, specific programs - almost $1 million for body cameras for sheriff's deputies in Broward County, Florida; $1.2 million in Charlotte, North Carolina, to help cut the backlog of rape kit testing; $12,966 to cover police involvement in the city of Lawndale, California's Youth Day parade and at the Fourth of July fireworks celebration. The federal government also can't punish local governments with the threat of pulling federal funding unless it's relevant to the program, which is what the administration is doing, argues Holmes.

During the latter half of President George W. Bush's administration, the use of detainers expanded as more and more local jails shared fingerprint information from inmates with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which in turned shared the information with ICE. The suit claims that the policy amounts to an unconstitutional federal coercion that violates the Tenth Amendment, which helps guarantee state's rights.

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