Mayor Jenny Durkan today reiterated the City of Seattle’s commitment to fight against the Trump administration’s attack on so-called “sanctuary cities,” or jurisdictions that limit cooperation with immigration authorities.
During a press conference, Durkan also announced $53,000 in grants to seven immigrant advocacy organizations. Her announcement comes in direct response to a letter sent last month by the Department of Justice that all-but threatened to withhold federal law enforcement grants to jurisdictions—including Seattle and King County—if they did not review local policies that protect immigrants. Today's announcement adds to a running list of grants and programs launched to protect immigrants since the Trump administration began, including a legal defense fund and a deluge of cash for regional nonprofits.
“Last month the Department of Justice sent a letter to 29 cities stating that they would threaten their federal aid if they did not revoke their protections of citizens of sanctuary status,” Durkan said, standing by community leaders and elected officials. “We’re here to say that they are wrong.”
She delivered her remarks at El Centro de la Raza, the immigrant community center in Beacon Hill. Councilmembers Lorena González, Joe McDermott, and city attorney Pete Holmes also spoke.
El Centro will receive $25,000 in grants to continue its work providing Know Your Rights trainings, according to the Mayor’s office. Other organizations that will receive funding for trainings and legal servies include 21 Progress, Entre Hermanos, Inter-Community Peace and Justice Center, Korean Community Service Center, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and OneAmerica.
“Us standing here today is not the first time we’re standing here in reaction to something this president has done,” González said. “And it won’t be the last.” She said it is imperative Seattle does not back down now or over the coming three years.
According to Holmes, who sued the Trump administration earlier this year over his threats to pull funding for sanctuary cities, this action by the DOJ is yet another attempt by the presidency to circumvent the rule of law.
“I wanted to remind everyone that when this vile executive order that precipitated this letter, back then I held up this constitution,” Holmes said, brandishing a worn, pocket-sized U.S. Constitution. “I continue to carry it with me, it’s something we’ll need to rely on.”