City of Seattle sues Trump administration over threats against sanctuary cities

On Monday, AG Sessions announced new measures that would claw back Justice Department funds from sanctuary cities that take a more lenient approach to enforcing federal immigration laws. On Tuesday, The Trump administration’s threat to defund sanctuary cities dominated the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing. On Wednesday, the City of Seattle sued the Trump administration over his administration’s threats against sanctuaries cities in the Western District of Washington.

The lawsuit makes two main arguments about Trump’s Executive Order according to Dean Kevin R. Johnson’s (UC-Davis) Immigration Law Prof Blog post:

  1. The order is unconstitutional and ambiguous, and creates uncertainty around Seattle’s budget by threatening federal funding. It violates the 10th amendment by attempting to force local entities to enforce federal immigration law, and violates the Spending Clause by attempting to coerce local action through the denial of federal funds.
  2. The City of Seattle and our welcoming city policies do not violate federal law. The Executive Order calls for localities to cooperate with the federal government and share information. City employees are directed to cooperate with, not hinder, federal actions; however, City employees are prohibited from inquiring into immigration status. The City doesn’t prohibit information sharing, but instead limits the collection of information.

For recent CRS reports on sanctuary cities, see this LLB post. — Joe

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