Mayor Ed Murray chose the Thanksgiving holiday — a celebration of immigration, depending on how you look at it — to sign a new executive order making a stand for Seattle as a sanctuary city:
Today, Mayor Ed Murray signed an Executive Order reaffirming Seattle as a welcoming city. The order states that City employees will not ask about the status of residents and all City services will be available to all residents, and it creates an Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet that will coordinate City efforts to protect the civil liberties and civil rights of Seattle residents. Additionally, the City will set aside $250,000 to address the needs of unauthorized immigrant students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools and their families.
“Except for our Native Peoples, we are all from someplace else, and we are strong because of our diversity,” Murray said in a statement on the act announced Thursday. “It is my commitment that Seattle will remain a welcoming city, not a place where children and their families live in fear.”
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory and a rise of calls for xenophobic restrictions on religion and immigration, Murray has been defiant in pledging for Seattle to remain a so-called sanctuary city despite threats from the incoming administration that city who defy federal immigration laws could lose billions in funding.
According to the mayor’s office, the order lays out seven points of protection:
- City employees will not ask residents seeking City services about immigration status, unless police officers have a reasonable suspicion that a person is committing or has committed a felony criminal-law violation.
- City employees will serve all residents and services will remain accessible to all residents, regardless of immigration status, ancestry, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender variance, marital status, physical or mental disability, or religion.
- Seattle Police officers will continue to defer detainer requests from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement to King County, as jails are in King County’s jurisdiction.
- City departments will issue a letter to all contractors receiving General Fund dollars to clarify and inform about these policies.
- An Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet will be created, made up of representatives from:
– Seattle Police Department,
– Office of Civil Rights,
– Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs,
Department of Neighborhoods,
– Office of Economic Development,
– Office of Policy and Innovation,
– City Budget Office,
– Office of Intergovernmental Relations,
– Department of Education and Early Learning, and
– Seattle Human Services Department
- The Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet develop a programmatic investment strategy for $250,000 to directly address the needs of unauthorized immigrant children in Seattle Public Schools and their families.
- The Inclusive and Equitable City Cabinet will develop public awareness efforts around hate speech and crimes; review potential implications on City departments of any new initiatives and intent of the incoming Presidential administration; collaborate with immigrant and refugee communities to identify areas of need and new or expanded efforts for partnership; and develop a specific agenda and action plan to help the Mayor build a coalition of cities during the upcoming West Coast Mayor’s Summit and the U.S. Conference of Mayors gatherings.
Read the entire executive order here.