Seattle sues over Trump's 'sanctuary cities' threat, calling his executive order unconstitutional

Seattle filed suit against the Trump administration Wednesday over its threat to cut off funds to so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in their attempts to deport those who are in the country illegally.

Mayor Ed Murray said Seattle officials believe the sanctuary order issued by the administration in January is unconstitutional.

The president has declared a “war on cities” through this and other recent actions, Murray said at a news conference. He cited Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ reference this week to a plan to withhold federal Justice Department grants from cities that persist in protecting immigrants wanted by the federal government for alleged legal violations.

Seattle is at risk of losing more than $150 million in federal funds this year. But Murray has already made clear the city is ready give up those funds in order to remain a sanctuary for immigrants.

San Francisco was the first to sue over the policy, in January, also saying it was unconstitutional.

Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement that “the American people want and deserve a lawful immigration system that keeps us safe and serves our national interest” and that the federal government will enforce relevant laws.

“Let me be clear about the facts,” Murray said. We are not breaking any laws and we are prioritizing safety.”

Anderson is a special correspondent. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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UPDATES:

7:20 p.m.: The story was updated throughout with staff reporting.

The story was originally published at 4:25 p.m.

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