Mayor's office: Murray willing to sue President Trump over executive orders

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Inside the Idris mosque, Mayor Ed Murray lashed out at President Donald Trump, who once proposed a ban on Muslims.

“The new president is governing as an authoritarian, driven by a vision. It is a vision of unrelenting bleakness and fear,” the mayor said

Murray launched his defiance of Trump the day after the November election, with a City Hall rally to declare that Seattle will remain a sanctuary city. That means that people seeking help will not be routinely asked whether they are in the country legally.

“Where the president spreads darkness, Seattle will shine a light, and offer a different vision,” the mayor said Tuesday.

In his speech, Murray demanded details of the Trump administration's plans.

He and City Attorney Pete Holmes have filed a 40-page Freedom of Information Act request for documents on the new travel and deportation polices, changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for undocumented children, and the definition of a sanctuary city

“We believe that the rule of law is on our side, and we will take legal action if the federal government does not answer our requests in a timely manner,” the mayor said to applause.

Some answers may be slow in coming because the new secretary of homeland security said earlier this month he “doesn't have a clue” how a sanctuary city is defined.

We asked Chris Vance, who once served as state Republican chairman, for his view of the mayor's defiance.

“Certainly you'd rather be on the administration’s good side, but that's virtually impossible here. Everything that the Seattle area is (is the) 180-degree polar opposite of what the Trump administration believes in," Vance said.

Murray has said he’s willing to persist in upholding Seattle as a welcoming, inclusive place for immigrants even though the Police Department could $75 million in federal grants from the Trump administration.

Here are quick facts on Seattle's tie to those two aforementioned issues. 

  • The DACA program, which began in 2012, defers removal action against an individual for a certain period of time, covering certain people who were brought illegally to the U.S. at a young age. Daniel Ramirez Medina, who is a DACA recipient, is detained by immigration authorities in mid-February and remains in a Tacoma detention center. 

>> Q&A: Both sides in case of man detained by immigration agents

  • In January, Murray said Seattle will remain a sanctuary city even at the risk of losing millions of dollars in federal money. As a sanctuary city, Seattle police and city employees are prohibited from inquiring about immigration status, unless the officer has a reasonable suspicion that person is here illegally after being deported and is committing or has committed a felony.

>> Council passes resolution affirming Seattle as 'Welcoming City'

 

If the Trump administration does not respond within 20 business days, Murray plans to sue, according to his office. Here's what the mayor said about his challenge during his State of the City address. 

>> Related: Seattle mayor also says in the State of City speech that he wants property tax increase to raise more money for homelessness. 

"To build on the actions we have taken to support Seattle immigrants and refugees, under my direction, along with City Attorney Pete Holmes, in response to the Administration’s actions and rhetoric regarding immigrants and refugees, today Seattle will send a series of Freedom of Information Requests to multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security."

"The City must be able to provide accurate information to immigrants and refugees and their families living in Seattle."

"We will seek to determine the Administration’s definition of “sanctuary cities” and the enforcement actions the federal government may take against us."

>> Related: Mayor: Seattle could lose $85 million by remaining a sanctuary city

"We will also seek detailed information about this Administration’s changes to travel and immigration policy including the DACA program."

"We believe that the rule of law is on our side, and we will take legal action if the federal government does not answer our requests in a timely manner."

If the City of Seattle sues, it won't be the state's first legal action against Trump. 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against Trump’s travel ban. It's process through the courts has made national headlines for weeks. 

Here's a recap of how that lawsuit halted Trump's travel ban. 

Ferguson announced a complaint that asked the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington to declare key provisions of the executive order unconstitutional and illegal.

>> Read a full explainer on the lawsuit here. 

Ferguson also filed a motion for temporary restraining order seeking an immediate halt to the executive order’s implementation in the state and nationwide. 

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart of Seattle issued a ruling last week granting the restraining order brought by the state of Washington. This means Robart’s decision temporarily halted Trump’s travel ban. The Department of Justice filed a motion with the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- requesting President Donald Trump's travel ban be temporarily resumed pending the White House’s appeal. 

After arguments, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges upheld a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban.

>> Related: Wash. AG declares victory in lawsuit against Trump's travel ban

In a news conference that ran more than an hour on last week, Trump said that “the roll out [of the executive order] was perfect.” 

"We had a very smooth roll out of the travel ban, but we had a bad court ... got a bad decision," Trump told reporters. "We're going to keep going with that decision. We're gonna put in a new executive order next week sometime," he said.

Trump’s administration said in a court filing last week that it would replace the travel ban with a new one. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Saturday that Trump is working on a "streamlined" version of his executive order banning travel from the seven nations to iron out the difficulties that landed his first order in the courts.

Kelly said the Trump administration was surprised when U.S. courts blocked the executive order and now "the president is contemplating releasing a tighter, more streamlined version" of the travel ban.

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