DOJ sues King County to resume ICE flights

VIDEO: Ban on immigration flights from Boeing Field sparks lawsuit from Justice Department

The King County Policy of banning immigration enforcement flights from Boeing Field has just drawn a lawsuit from the US Justice Department.

It’s part of a nationwide crackdown on sanctuary policies launched today by Attorney General William Barr.

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the executive order banning Immigration and Customs Enforcement flights last April in response to the treatment of undocumented immigrants in Washington and at the Southern Border.

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Today the US Attorneys serving both Western and Eastern Washington filed suit to lift the ban on ICE flights.

“The message is that sanctuary cities, sanctuary states, sanctuary laws hurt the public,” US Attorney for Western Washington Bryan Moran.

In US versus King County Executive Dow Constantine, the government alleges the ban constitutes illegal discrimination against the airport contractors serving the federal government. The lawsuit further alleges the ban creates illegal obstacles immigration law enforcement, and that Congress has preempted the ability of local jurisdictions to regulate immigration policy.

“Our state sanctuary laws seem to prevent state and local law enforcement from working together to solve crimes and enforce laws as they have done so effectively for generations,” said US Attorney for Eastern Washington William Hyslop.

But as upwards of a thousand Latino activists rallied at the State Capitol, advocates said sanctuary policies keep everyone safe.

“If people in the community are not willing to go forward to law enforcement and provide information, call the police, that makes us less safe,” said Jorge Baron, Executive Director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

Today's lawsuit over flights at Boeing Field was coordinated with similar action taken by Attorney General William Barr nationwide.

In a statement, King County Executive Constantine accused Barr of “grabbing headlines.”

“Mass deportations raise deeply troubling human rights concerns. The beauty of this job,” Moran said, “when I took it, I swore an oath to the Constitution and there is no politics in my job.”

The DOJ’s lawsuit against New Jersey targets sanctuary laws that are like Washington’s. Moran indicated there may be more federal lawsuits against those policies to come.