Mayor Ed Murray announced to a crowd at City Hall yesterday (November 9) that Seattle would remain a sanctuary city despite President-Elect Donald Trump’s proposal to end federal funding to all sanctuary cities. These cities have served as safe havens for undocumented immigrants since 1989 when San Francisco became the first. They accomplish this by limiting how local law enforcement interacts with federal government agencies on immigration matters.
“These are our neighbors, and we will continue to support our neighbors,” said the mayor, according to The Seattle Times. “We can’t allow ourselves to be divided and sorted out. That’s not America.”
The city has held this status since 2003, barring “police officers from inquiring into a person’s immigration status without reasonable suspicion that the person has been previously deported and has committed a felony,” the Times reports.
“Seattle is the same city today that it was yesterday,” Murray went on, “guided by equality and inclusion and openness.”
The future of the country’s more than 300 sanctuary jurisdictions, including New Mexico, Miami-Dade County and South Tucson, Arizona, remains unknown since Trump won the election. He has made it clear that he plans to repeal federal funding to these locations.
In the past, Republicans have attempted to do this by cutting off law enforcement grants to cities. However, when Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) led such legislation last year, he also attempted to remove community development grants from sanctuary cities, counties and states, according to USA TODAY. The GOP has taken more urgent action against these places after Francisco Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant in San Francisco, fatally shot 32-year-old Kate Steinle.