President Donald Trump’s executive actions on immigration are putting sanctuary cities like Seattle in the crosshairs, but representative Pramila Jayapal says local law enforcement and the courts will fight the “horrific” orders.
“It’s a massive overreach on his part,” Jayapal told PubliCola @ Seattle Met.
Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday taking aim at sanctuary cities where illegal immigration is not being enforced. The executive order would prevent federal funds to be distributed to sanctuary cities.
Jayapal said while there is no official definition of the term sanctuary city, Seattle and King County are considered sanctuary governments because law enforcement officers are prohibited from asking about a person’s immigration status. Washington state law also allows undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses.
Trump’s actions are not going to be enforced in King County without a fight on the local level from law enforcement and the public, Jayapal said. After Trump signed the order, mayor Ed Murray said Seattle “would not be intimidated” by Trump’s actions.
“I want to assure Seattle residents that while they are right to be alarmed about President Trump’s divisive vision, they should not be concerned that this city will be bullied into stepping away from its commitments and values,” Murray said. “The City of Seattle will continue to protect the rights guaranteed to the city and its people by the United States Constitution and will challenge any unconstitutional policies that threaten the security of our communities.”
Jayapal said Trump’s actions against sanctuary cities would likely be challenged in court, with public outcry, and with legislation she’d support in Congress. She said there may even be Republican support for legislation against cutting funding for sanctuary cities because of how divisive Trump’s executive orders were.
“[Cutting federal funding] would definitely hurt King County,” Jayapal said. “Right now, our legal team is looking at the executive orders to see what exactly might happen to King County if Trump’s executive orders are carried through.”
Jayapal said Trump’s executive orders are even more “pervasive” on individuals’ civil liberties than just the cuts of federal funding on sanctuary cities. Trump is also calling for 10,000 additional officers to be hired to help local law enforcement with immigration-enforcement duties, as well as 5,000 additional officers on the border. Undocumented immigrants simply charged with a crime will also be prioritized for deportation.
“The minute [undocumented immigrants] are charged with a crime, they could be deported with no due process,” Jayapal said. “It’s terrifying. Immigration officers within the city or county will be directed to profile undocumented immigrants, stop them, and carry out deportation.”
Jayapal said Trump’s executive orders will likely be challenged in court for being unconstitutional. She also said a national outcry and members of the public reaching out to their elected officials will help challenge the orders.
Several of the other Washington Congress members joined Jayapal on criticizing Trump’s executive orders against illegal immigration.
“There’s no question the U.S. immigration system is in need of a serious overhaul, but targeting hard-working families, constructing an extremely costly wall, and burdening law enforcement in cities in Washington state and across our country does not even begin to address the complexities of this issue and in fact could set us back,” senator Patty Murray said in a statement.
The Washington state Republican Party has not yet responded responded to PubliCola @ Seattle Met’s requests for comment on Trump’s executive actions.