The Trump administration plans strip federal grant money for so-called sanctuary cities for refugees.
"Sanctuary cities" is a broad term. It generally refers to rules restricting state and local governments from alerting federal authorities about people who may be in the country illegally, according to the Washington Post. In Seattle, it means there is a city law that says police and government agencies do not ask immigration status of people seeking services.
Trump use his executive authority on Wednesday to jumpstart construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and target sanctuary cities in potentially restricting the flow of refugees to the United States. White House Press secretary Sean Spicer announced the curbing of funds for sanctuary cities on Wednesday morning.
What this means for Seattle
After Trump’s election win in November, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Seattle will remain a sanctuary city even at the risk of millions of dollars in federal money.
Murray made the promise to a huge crowd that filled city hall. Leaders and advocates vowed that Seattle will continue to welcome undocumented immigrants who need sanctuary.
“We have some of the best immigration rights here in the country here in our city and our state and we know that we can win even when the struggle seems hard,” said 7th District Representative Pramila Jayapal. Jayapal founded the immigration rights group One-America. She said Seattle was the first in the nation to say it would not ask the immigration status of people seeking city services.
KIRO 7 News is asking the mayor for an updated statement today.
Immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility. This means that undocumented immigrants aren't safe from deportation in sanctuary cities like Seattle.
Washington state’s stance on refugee
In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris in 2015, more than a dozen state governors said they would not allow thousands of refugees seeking sanctuary to relocate in their states.
"I stand firmly with President Obama," Jay Inslee said regarding Obama's pledge to accept thousands of Syrian refugees in the next year. "'We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.'"
Authorities said a Syrian passport was found near one of the attackers, and the Paris prosecutors' office says fingerprints from the attacker match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.
But Inslee still said that "Washington will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice."
Inslee told KIRO Radio after the election that he will also not be backing down under the Trump administration.
3,907 refugees resettled in Washington during federal fiscal year 2016.
KIRO 7 News is asking the governor for an updated statement today.
About Trump’s action
Read about the wall here. Read about refugees below.
The Associated Press reports it appears as though the refugee restrictions were still being finalized. The person briefed on the proposals said they included a ban on entry to the U.S. for at least 30 days from countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, though the person cautioned the details could still change.
There is also likely to be an exception for those fleeing religious persecution if their religion is a minority in their country. That exception could cover Christians fleeing Muslim-majority nations.
As president, Trump can use an executive order to halt refugee processing. Bush used that same power in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Refugee security vetting was reviewed and the process was restarted several months later.
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