Seattle sues Trump administration over sanctuary city threat

But some leaders in MA sanctuary cities say their policies do not prohibit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, rather they limit the amount of information collected by local police when it comes to immigration status.

The push to use funding as a way to force cities to crack down on illegal immigration could affect 118 jurisdictions - that's how many cities and counties ICE recently said had rejected requests to detain immigrants.

Sessions offered few details about how the Justice Department will determine which cities are out of compliance and what steps it will take to strip them of funds.

Earlier this week, Sessions told reporters that policies of non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities are risky and warned it will cost communities federal funding in the future.

Sessions' announcement also drew the ire of New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who said, "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 policy was issued under the Obama administration in 2016.

"Countless Americans would be alive today ... if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended", Sessions said, who added that he used a tactic that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch employed. And Sessions indicated the Justice Department could begin to impose stricter requirements on grant money.

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. Sanctuary cities are jurisdictions with policies that prioritize the interests of criminal aliens by limiting law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officials. The federal courts have ruled that the Fourth Amendment forbids the government from locking someone up without a warrant signed by a judge or probable cause.

Seattle is suing the federal government over President Donald Trump's executive order cracking down on so-called "sanctuary cities", Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday.

A detainer is a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to a law enforcement agency to keep a suspected deportable immigrant in its custody long enough for immigration authorities to arrest the person.

"The executive branch may not commandeer state and local officials to enforce federal law", the lawsuit states. Immigration law passed in 1996 Sessions was referring to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, enacted by Congress in 1996, including section 8 U.S.C. 1373, which provided that "no state or local entity can in any way restrict its law-enforcement officials from communicating with federal immigration authorities regarding an individual's citizenship or immigration status".

Ambrosino says his city isn't violating any federal law in opting not to collect information about residents' immigration status. Multiple federal courts have also found that the detainers are not sufficient for a local jail to hold an immigrant beyond their sentence or after bail has been posted.

"Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States", the order states.

Many communities with sanctuary policies say it fosters a culture of trust between the public and the police.

  • Larry Hoffman