‘We will fight’ — Seattle leaders respond to Trump’s immigration order

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Facebook emoji were flying as González, Chief O’Toole, Mayor Murray, and others spoke in an address from City Hall’s steps broadcast to an audience of around 1,000 on Facebook

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-1-58-16-pm screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-1-50-54-pmNobody punched a Nazi but Seattle City Council member and the daughter of a family of immigrants Lorena González vowed Wednesday to help lead her city to push back on President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

“We will fight,” González said Wednesday afternoon on the steps of Seattle’s City Hall.

Earlier in the day, Trump unleashed the new executive order setting the groundwork for his pet Mexican border wall project and for cutting federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities, his latest blast in a first week in office marked by preliminary attacks on undocumented immigrants, civil rights, women’s health, the Affordable Care Act, and the environment.

Mayor Ed Murray Wednesday called the order the “darkest day of immigration history in America” since the Japanese internment during World War II.

“The executive orders are counter to our constitution and a threat to this city’s values,” Murray said.

The mayor said he has launched a new directive of his own asking his departments to begin reprioritization of budgets to prepare for cuts. While he said he “could go to ballot to ask citizens for more revenue,” the mayor said he believes the courts will put any punitive actions to a quick stop. “It is chilling but much of the language is about what they are about to do not what they have done,” Murray said.

Last Thanksgiving, Murray signed an executive order reaffirming policies including a 2003 ordinance prohibiting city officers or employees to ask people about immigration status. In Seattle, only ICE and other federal agencies are supposed to enforce laws related to undocumented residents. However, Seattle officers can inquire about status if there is reason think the person is back in the U.S. after being previously deported and if they are committing or have committed a felony. CHS reported on Seattle’s status as a sanctuary city here.

In addition to the rallies and protests against the new administration, Inauguration Day in Seattle included a City Hall-led immigration and legal services clinic at Seattle Center that helped around 1,500 families, Murray said.

Murray said that estimates put Seattle funding at risk under Trump’s executive order near $75 million — around 1.5% of the city’s $5 billion budget. The biggest risk, Murray said, is around $10 million currently earmarked for the Seattle Police Department.

SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole said she joined the mayor in rejecting the premise of Trump’s order pointed to positions supporting sanctuary cities from the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association.

“We are not alone,” O’Toole said.

The association which represents police leaders in “the largest cities in the United States, Canada and the UK” contends, O’Toole said, that local immigration enforcement undermines trust with immigrant populations.

In his first week in office, Trump’s executive orders are picking up where his Twitter stream has left off. Tuesday night, hundreds of protesters rallied in Westlake and briefly shut down the mall after another Trump executive order to revive construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline by inviting TransCanada to resubmit its cross-border permit. The pipeline executive order joins a growing roster of efforts Trump is moving forward that will now have to overcome government process and the courts before becoming reality.

Procedural and legal barriers or not, González said not only is it time for Seattle to fight back against “becoming an extension of Homeland Security” but that the city should “double down” on its commitment to immigrants.

“Today’s executive orders are being sold to the American people as being necessary for public safety,” González said.

“These orders do not keep us safe. Today’s executive orders represent prejudice. It represents isolationism and hate.”

On Monday, the council member said she plans to introduce a “Welcoming City” resolution. “Welcoming Cities are guided by the principles of inclusion and creating communities that prosper because everyone feels welcome, including immigrants and refugees,” according to welcomingamerica.org.

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14 thoughts on “‘We will fight’ — Seattle leaders respond to Trump’s immigration order

  1. Murray’s fellow Democrat Barack Obama deported more undocumented immigrants than all presidents of the 20th century COMBINED, around 2.5 million people. Yet not a peep from our heroic mayor then.

    One might almost think that this is partisan posturing. tsk tsk

  2. This is no way any sort of comparison to the disgraceful internment of Japanese Americans during the second world war is appropriate in the least, whatsoever. If someone is unlawfully in another country that is a completely different matter. I’ve known Americans who overstayed in the UK and worked without authorization and were picked up at one afternoon at work and taken to the airport for the next flight back to the US. That is how it works. And why does no one say anything about holding Central American governments accountable for the horrid human conditions in their countries that drive a lot of this immigration in the first place?

  3. I get that people come to make a better life for themselves and their families. We have a wonderful country. But we have laws and processes for welcoming those who want to come here legally. Why is our mayor and leaders saying it’s ok to flout these laws?

    • Because we are talking here about people who essentially have no other choice. People risk their lives to cross the border illegally because they need to work now, not two years from now. This population is what the debate over “immigration reform” is about.

    • Nonsense. We are not the solution for economic immigrants from countries like Mexico. If so, let’s open the border and let the billion who’d like to come from the world at large a free pass.

      Illegal aliens are not immigrants and do not have rights to be here.

      The mayor is grandstanding as so far the city is not being asked to do work for the Feds re enforcing laws. I’d sure home if an illegal is arrested that they are turned over to INS, or at least upon conviction. Walking away from millions based upon personal beliefs of the mayor and some on council is dead wrong until and unless we have specifics of where the real conflict between the Feds and mayor lie. So far it is a matter of empty semantics.

    • OK, so you’re an immigration hardliner, and nothing I say (or anyone else says) will change your mind. Got it. But consider this: What if you were mugged or assaulted on the street and the only person who saw it happen was an undocumented immigrant? Wouldn’t you want that person to call 911, rather than keeping silent out of fear that doing so would lead to deportation?

      No matter how fiercely one may oppose so-called illegal immigration, there are good reasons to want local law enforcement and immigration enforcement to be kept entirely separate. This separation, rather than any particular stance toward the undocumented, is the essence of the (unfortunately named) “sanctuary cities” concept. One does not have to harbor the slightest sympathy to immigrants in order to support it. Even Trump-fanboy Rudy Giuliani understands this basic truth.

    • @ MarciaX: Do they really have no choice? They come here illegally because they can make more money here, not because there are no jobs available in Mexico. They could choose to respect our laws by staying and working in their home country.

  4. How is the Mayor going to make up for the $85 million (according to the SeattleTimes) that the feds are giving us? Something tells me the answer is: the taxpayers.

    • Departments are submitting possible cuts in the event Trump’s order goes through. But really, $85M wouldn’t paralyze Seattle; that’s just 2% of it’s operating budget.

  5. In our current political climate we are beginning to see an us vs. them mentality. Although immigration and illegals may not be everyone’s cup of team the side you stick with (which you deem more sain) will be the one where all their policies don’t match yours. I wish we had a better policy on immigration. Where we don’t exclude people but are inclusive. So workers that contribute to our society are allowed to stay without heavy fees or too much hassle. The illegals that are being identified are ones that want to stay and contribute. Yes, there are bad apples. But that exists across all society. We can’t just throw out the baby with the bath water. We need to create laws that promote good behavior and protect the population against bad behavior. But enmass round-ups won’t protect society. And will hurt individuals that are contributing to that society.

  6. From Madeline Albright:
    ·
    Most of you have seen the draft executive order on immigration and refugees that the President is expected to sign. If signed as written, it would ban Syrian refugees from entering our country, suspend the entire refugee program for 120 days, cut in half the number of refugees we can admit, and halt all travel from certain Muslim countries.
    Having looked at the draft, I felt I had no choice but to speak out against it in the strongest possible terms.
    In doing so, I want to make three points.
    First, it is a cruel measure that represents a stark departure from America’s core values. We have a proud tradition of sheltering those fleeing violence and persecution, and have always been the world leader in refugee resettlement. As a refugee myself who fled the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, I personally benefited from this country’s generosity and its tradition of openness. This order would end that tradition, and discriminate against those fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria. It does not represent who we are as a country.
    Second, this measure would directly harm our security interests. As you all know, the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East poses an extraordinary threat to the stability of that region and to our allies in Europe. We need to be doing more, not less, to alleviate the problem – and one important way to do that is to accept a modest number of thoroughly vetted refugees. The signing of this executive order would send a terrible signal to our allies in Europe and in the Middle East, who will now have an excuse to do less. It will also be a gift to ISIS, which has been telling Muslims around the world that the west is their enemy. I have no doubt they will use this order as propaganda to support that claim.
    Third, there is no data to support the idea that refugees pose a threat. This policy is based on fear, not facts. The refugee vetting process is robust and thorough. It already consists of over 20 steps, ensuring that refugees are vetted more intensively than any other category of traveler.
    The process typically takes 18-24 months, and is conducted while they are still overseas. I am concerned that this order’s attempts at “extreme vetting” will effectively halt our ability to accept anyone at all. . When the administration makes wild claims about Syrian refugees pouring over our borders, they are relying on alternative facts – or as I like to call it, fiction.
    The truth is that America can simultaneously protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain our country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to turn. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are the obligation of a country built by immigrants.
    Refugees should not be viewed as a certain burden or potential terrorists. They have already made great contributions to our national life. Syrian refugees are learning English, getting good jobs, buying homes, and starting businesses. In other words, they are doing what other generations of refugees – including my own – did. And I have no doubt that, if given the opportunity, they will become an essential part of our American fabric.
    Yesterday, I tweeted about my own background. I was raised a Catholic, married an Episcopalian and then found out I was Jewish. I said in my tweet that should a registry of Muslims be instituted by this administration, I would add my name to such a list.
    Such a registry is not included in the language of this order, but by targeting Muslim-majority countries for immigration bans and by expressing a clear preference for refugees who are religious minorities, there’s no question this order is biased against Muslims. And when one faith is targeted, it puts us all at risk.
    When I came here as a child, I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and seeing the Statue of Liberty. It proclaims “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, and today she is weeping because of the actions of President Trump.