The Trump administration, after threatening to withhold funds for Seattle in retaliation for the city’s immigration policies, has agreed to hand over the money. The city and nearby jurisdictions will get $657,975 in Justice Assistance Grant funds.
The Trump administration, after threatening to withhold funds for Seattle in retaliation for the city’s immigration policies, has agreed to hand over the money, says Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes. Seattle and nearby jurisdictions have been approved for $657,975 in Justice Assistance Grant funds, reports the Seattle Times. Durkan and Holmes are declaring the news a victory for Seattle and its policies, including a 2003 law that in most cases prohibits police officers and other city employees from asking about a person’s immigration status. Police officers can ask when required by court order and when they have reasonable suspicion to believe a person has been previously deported and has committed a felony. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been warning about a crackdown on Seattle, King County and other local governments that the Trump administration considers “sanctuary jurisdictions” because they have policies limiting their own participation in immigration enforcement.
“Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions blinked, Seattle won and public safety prevailed,” Durkan said. The Trump administration has argued cities and counties with sanctuary policies are protecting illegal immigrants. Local leaders say they have no obligation to carry out immigration enforcement, which is the federal government’s job wrong. They said police should mostly avoid involvement in order to build trust from immigrant communities. President Trump slammed sanctuary cities during his 2016 campaign and issued an executive order shortly after taking office that such jurisdictions would be cut off from federal grants. Seattle will split the fiscal 2017 funds with King County and other jurisdictions in the region. The city will use the money to pay three crime-prevention coordinators. The coordinators organize block-watch programs and attend community public-safety meetings.