Should Trump take money back from 'sanctuary cities'?

Sanctuary cities across the nation are digging in their heels and preparing for a fight with the Trump administration after the Justice Department requested that jurisdictions start cooperating with the feds regarding illegal immigration.

According to Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law president and executive director Kristen Clarke, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks to create a police state in which local and state law enforcement are acting at the behest of the federal government to round up immigrants in communities across the country".

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' statements Monday that local jurisdictions may have Department of Justice funds pulled if they fail to cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing immigration policy may have been the straw that broke the camel's back, though Murray has voiced Seattle's defiance since the order was issued. Only days after the staggering healthcare defeat, Sessions threatened to cut more than four billion dollars in federal funding from local jurisdictions that violate federal immigration law. Federalism experts say that case law has built up doctrines that help states maintain their resistance. But localities that specifically forbid their officials to provide information to federal immigration authorities are violating the black-and-white letter of the law.

The announcement is in line with a January executive order that Trump signed shortly after taking office that directed the attorney general and the Homeland Security secretary to withhold such federal funds. "1373 requires us to talk to immigration officials and it requires them to talk to us, and we do that".

"As we've said many times before, these so-called "sanctuary cities" are already in full compliance with federal immigration law, and have committed no violation of the United States code", Matt Zone, president of the National League of Cities, said in a statement. He added that city leaders across the country are already committed to complying with federal laws and ensuring that criminals are prosecuted regardless of their immigration status.

The Trump administration has made repeated threats cited in the lawsuit.

"The Trump administration, their war on facts has now become a war on cities", Murray said.

Sessions singled out local governments that reject at least some requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold people in jail for possible immigration violations beyond when they would otherwise be released. MA mayors from Somerville and Cambridge have already vowed to remain sanctuary cities.

Mayor Ed Lee of San Fransisco, where 32-year-old Kate Steinle was killed by an illegal alien in 2015, declared that sanctuary cities are "safer, more productive, healthier places to live". SDPD officers don't initiate contact for the sole objective of checking someone's immigration status, or ask the immigration status of crime victims or witnesses, he said.

"This is really important and emotional for both of us", said Seattle City Councilmember Debra Juarez, standing next to Councilmember Lorena González, at the press conference.

  • Zachary Reyes