No hearing it, Trump...
No hearing it, Trump... SeaStock/

Last year, both Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee resisted Donald Trump's repeated attacks on a set of policies that limit cooperation between local and national agencies to enforce federal immigration laws. At the city level, the spatial result of this organizational divide is called a sanctuary city. The logic of a sanctuary city is simple: it keeps undocumented immigrants out of the shadows (a dangerous place for them and also the documented) and in the urban community. They can apply for driving permits, access to health and educational services, and the victims of domestic violence and other abuses can receive legal protection.

On May 22, 2019, Inslee did the right thing and expanded the border of this kind democratic space to include the whole of Washington. He called it a “sanctuary state.” However, most of Trump's fire power, both legal and on Twitter, was directed at the state he believes cost him the popular vote in 2016, California.

Predictably, he claimed that sanctuary cities protected criminals. “The State of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole state to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants — with catastrophic results,” barked the President during his 2020 State of the Union. Trump's next big move was to send the bad case of California's "bad hombres" love up to the Supreme Court for a hearing, and the Supreme Court on Monday, June 15 refused to hear any of it.

Support The Stranger


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed President Donald Trump a defeat in his legal showdown with the most-populous U.S. state, declining to hear his administration’s challenge to “sanctuary” laws in California that protect immigrants from deportation.

The justices left in place a lower court ruling that upheld the bulk of three laws in the Democratic-governed state that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement authorities. The Trump administration had appealed that ruling to the high court.

As the lawyer for the American Immigration Council, Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, tweeted: "As of now, the Trump administration has a nearly 100% losing rate on sanctuary city cases." And so, as with the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which searched high and low for something that looked like widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election but found next to nothing (the commission's report was "glaringly empty"), this three-year attack on sanctuary cities has turned out to be a great waste of tax-payer's time and money.

With all of that out of the way, Seattle should take the radical step and seriously consider a proposal by the former mayor Mike McGinn: give voting rights to the undocumented. McGuinn, a lawyer, explained how this is legally possible in the editorial "Allow Non-Citizens to Vote in Seattle Elections." The U.S. Constitution does not block the way for this possibility. It's only a matter of changing what I love to call the city's structure of feeling—meaning, you can feel this about it or not. But in the end, always know the feeling that can never do you wrong is the democratic feeling.