Second night of Seattle immigration order protests ends up on Capitol Hill

More than 1,000 marchers arrived on Capitol Hill and filed onto the well-lit Bobby Morris sports field next to Cal Anderson Sunday night following a massive immigration rights rally downtown in a second night of protest against President Trump’s executive order. Meanwhile, efforts at City Hall and in Olympia including a lawsuit brought by the state against a lawsuit in federal court today against the president, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and “high-ranking Trump Administration officials” will do battle with the administration’s anti-immigration maneuvering.

In front of a crowd unofficially estimated at more than 3,000 people Sunday night in Westlake Park, Lt. Gov Cyrus Habib joined officials Governor Jay Inslee, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and Mayor Ed Murray in criticizing the Trump order that attempted to bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days.

“Nobody loves this country like the people who leave everything behind to earn their place in this country,” said Habib whose parents immigrated to the United States from Iran.

Habib called Trump’s executive order an “executive dis-order.”

Saturday, protesters across the country snarled airports including thousands who came to Sea-Tac to demand the release of people detained during the early hours of confusion around the White House order. Legal battles are also winning temporary stays against components of the order. In Seattle, a U.S. District Court Judge granted an emergency stay in case brought on behalf of travelers ensnared by the abrupt implementation of the order. Governor Inslee thanked the ACLU and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project for their quick work in Washington. Meanwhile in federal court in New York, the ACLU won an emergency stay Saturday night for citizens of the seven barred countries who already arrived in the US and those still in transit who hold valid visas. The court orders in at least four cities “were just the initial steps in litigation that may last for years,” the New York Times reports.

Sunday night’s rally in Westlake transformed into a set of marches as the group of thousands of protesters branched off. Some in the largest group took to a portion of the planned route communicated by organizers to Seattle Police before veering off and making a surprise march up through First Hill, across Broadway, and into Cal Anderson. The large crowd dispersed nearly as quickly as it gathered on the field and there were no reports of significant damage or any arrests despite a large police presence. Meanwhile, at least three different groups of marchers also crossed through downtown. One large group settled in the intersection at Westlake and Mercer before also calling it a night.

Sunday night’s actions came to a close without the push of force that brought a final end to the protest in Sea-Tac. After a night of mostly peaceful blockading of many entrances, exits, and security checkpoints with few arrests, police from a multi-agency team including SPD officers told remaining protesters to leave the facility early Sunday morning and moved in with peppery spray and arrests when not all would comply. The Port of Seattle said over the weekend that more than 30 people were taken into custody in the protest. SPD took the step of issuing a statement saying the use of force by its officers participating in the response would be reviewed but denying that its officers “deployed pepper spray or made any arrests.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the Port of Seattle response to the protest including a decision at one point Saturday night to bypass the light rail stop at the airport will be reviewed by Sound Transit and Metro.

Monday morning, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a federal lawsuit demanding “the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington to declare unconstitutional key provisions of President Donald Trump’s immigration Executive Order” —

The complaint asserts that the President’s actions are “separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”

Meanwhile, Monday afternoon in Seattle City Hall, Seattle City Council member Lorena González’s Welcoming City ordinance will come before a meeting of the full council:

A RESOLUTION affirming the City of Seattle as a Welcoming City that promotes policies and programs to foster inclusion for all, and serves its residents regardless of their immigration or refugee status, race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, disability, homelessness, low-income or veteran status, and reaffirming the City’s continuing commitment to advocate and support the wellbeing of all residents.

The legislation directs the City of Seattle to invest $250,000 “for students in the Seattle Public Schools affected by federal policies directed at immigrants and refugees in 2017.”

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