Seattle Asks Court to Halt Sanctuary Order, Creates Legal Defense Fund for Illegal Aliens

The City of Seattle filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, asking the court to stop President Trump’s executive order that authorizes the Attorney General and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to prohibit sanctuary cities from receiving federal grant money. Sanctuary policies are intended to impede the enforcement of immigration law by federal immigration officials. These policies are often designed to protect criminal aliens from detection and removal from the United State by restricting communication with federal officials and compliance with detainer requests, often called ICE holds. A day after filing the lawsuit, Seattle officials announced plans to set up a $1 million legal-defense fund for immigrants the federal government attempts to deport.

Seattle’s sanctuary policy, which the City Council enacted in 2003, prohibits its law enforcement officers from even inquiring into an individual’s immigration status, thus preventing them from cooperating with federal officials on matters relating to criminal aliens in law enforcement custody. Despite affirmatively obstructing the enforcement of federal law and putting public safety at risk, the Seattle Mayor insists its policy is legal and the city filed its lawsuit to ensure it remains entitled to federal grant money.

President Trump’s executive order, however, explains that “sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.” Additionally, it states, “it is the policy of the executive branch to ensure, to the fullest extent of the law, that a State, or a political subdivision of a State, shall comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373.” This statute explicitly prohibits sanctuary policies that restrict the sending, requesting, maintaining, or exchanging of information regarding a person’s immigration status.

Additionally, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that state laws and policies are preempted when they conflict with federal law, as well as when they stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress. Congress has set priorities through the INA to determine who may enter and remain in the United States. Sanctuary laws, ordinances, and policies shield aliens from the administration of federal law, thereby frustrating the execution of immigration law as Congress intended.

The complaint asks that court to declare that Seattle is in compliance with the law and that the executive order is unconstitutional. Seattle is one of a few sanctuary cities to attempt to defend its sanctuary policies using legal action.

About Author


Dan is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best-known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


  1. avatar

    Illegal Alien advocates claim that the crimes Illegal Aliens commit are only civil. Thus, our government and our leaders are not obligated to provide funding for a legal fund. If they do so, then, again, they are providing services to Illegal Aliens that are not provided to our citizens. This money should be used where it is needed desperately by our Vets and homeless citizens.

  2. avatar

    I Saw a Movie About McAfee and his organized crime….

    Ditto for Sanctuary Cities. They’re crime infested rat holes….

    In Seattle half the people who own homes don’t work. Rent controls don’t work, because they’re way behind the wage curve. Average incomes are like $40K per capita….singles own most of the homes too..1.2 workers per household. Leland, this per capita data blows a hole in that $61K per household in California too…..America is becoming poorer and people are leaving SF because of Sanctuary Cities.

    Fake News.

    • avatar

      As they say it’s not what you earn as much as it is what you spend. I saw a poll where almost half of Millenials want to leave San Francisco. There are people who make a hundred thousand that cannot afford a house or apartment. There’s an old song from the 70s by Neil Diamond called I Am I Said. In it he sang “LA’s fine most the time…Palm trees grow and rents are low”. No longer. If you can’t afford housing, then all this talk about how prosperous California is is ridiculous. Silicon Valley is another example. I saw an article about a schoolteacher and her fireman husband who had to share a home with another couple. As land becomes more scarce then you have to build higher and the same people who won’t say a word of objection about immigration don’t want high rises. It’s like they can’t make the connection.

      • avatar

        My 28 YO Daughter Lives in Kansas City Now

        Believe it or not Leland, the polls show a rise from 43% to 58% of the milenials support an old fashion life style….men work and women stay home….the young adults are rebelling against the NWO in their own way now. Working women do live much shorter lives in this NWO, ask a heart specialist.

        Now call me a bigot against women when this their desire…..LOL

        BTW her significant other works and she stays at home….she does house managing for my rental, so saves me money as an investor. Why is this evil??? LOL

      • avatar

        It is insane out here where you see lots of people asking others to share their house- I can’t imagine! These houses start at like $450,000 for tiny places that are built right on top of other houses- no property to speak of. My daughter is looking in the SF area for something around $800,000 but they are all so old with oddly shaped interiors. I, myself, am still cringing at the rentals in the Bay Area. You would think for $1300-$1400 a month you could land a halfway decent place but then you go to an open house where your up against 30-40 applicants and the place is a dump. Almost time to head back to NY

  3. avatar

    There’s a column on by Matthew Yglesias which repeats all the same old moss covered claims more appropriate to 1917, not 2017. It’s all the “more the merrier” concept of immigration and he claims that “hundreds of millions” of people want to come here, so it’s best for us to let them come. Unsaid is who will pay for the huge infrastructure costs of this, the highways, schools, utilities, electrical infrastructure that all these people would require. Not to mention the environmental consequences of this which never seem to occur to those who scream the loudest about preserving nature.

    There is the usual claim that “unauthorized workers receive few if any public benefits” while they “pay taxes”. He doesn’t address the fact that they collect them at very high rates for their large families of US born children and those children would not be the responsibility of the American taxpayers but for the illegal acts of their parents. And the taxes they pay are minimal if any.

    Then there are the usual dire predictions of some shortage of workers if we don’t keep immigration of skilled and unskilled workers going full speed ahead. But then, since he is living in 1917 fantasy land, he’s missing the reports that come almost every week that automation is going to reduce the workforce, not grow it. We see it all the time. The self checkout lanes, ordering on a touch screen at fast food restaurants, one thing after another being automated.

    And of course, one of the biggest myths promoted by advocates. Mississippi, a low immigration state, is cast as poverty stricken, while California, the biggest immigration state by both numbers and percentage, is “much more prosperous”. Never mind that Zillow says the median price of a home in Mississippi is 160,000 while it’s 490,000 in California. The median income in Mississippi is 36,900 while it’s 60,190 in California. Of course, taxes, insurance, food, gasoline are all much higher in California. Obviously it’s Mississippi where a person can actually have a home and lifestyle they can afford, not California. Los Angeles has a huge homeless population and a lot of those people actually work but have to live out of their car because they can’t afford the rent on a small apartment. Or they drive two hours to work. Some paradise.