by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was defiant after Donald Trump signed executive orders dealing with immigration and sealing off the country's border with Mexico.
Trump signed orders on January 25 concerning the construction of his border wall with Mexico, increasing deportations, and punishment for so-called 'sanctuary cities.'
The same day, Murray held a press conference at City Hall denouncing Trump's plans.
'Today is one of the worst days for immigrants in America since Japanese internment,' Murray said in a statement.
'Just days after hundreds of Seattleites volunteered to support more than 1,000 members of our immigrant community, President Trump sent a message back. He doesn't respect our values and will exercise his power to threaten immigrants and our federal funding.
'I want to assure Seattle residents that while they are right to be alarmed about President Trump's divisive vision, they should not be concerned that this city will be bullied into stepping away from its commitments and values. The City of Seattle will continue to protect the rights guaranteed to the city and its people by the United States Constitution and will challenge any unconstitutional policies that threaten the security of our communities.
'We are a nation of laws, and we are committed to defending our residents, our values, and the Constitution in the court of law. We will not be intimidated.'
In 1986, Seattle declared itself a 'city of refuge' for immigrants fleeing civil wars in Central America. In 2007, a City Council resolution instructed Seattle police not to ask for proof of immigration status when they encounter residents.
More than 400 jurisdictions across the country, including megacities New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, as well as smaller towns like Burien, now follow the same practice. Trump has threatened to withhold federal funds if they refuse to cooperate with his deportation plans.
According to Murray's office, Seattle received $85.3 million in federal funding in 2015, the last year for which analysis is complete. About $40 million went to the city's Human Services Department, $15 million to the city's transportation department, $12 million to the Office of Housing, and $9.4 million to the Seattle Police Department. The balance went to other city agencies.
Nevertheless, Murray insisted, 'I am willing to lose every single penny to protect those people!'
Governor backs Murray
Murray got plenty of backing from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle's congressional representatives.
'We will not be intimidated or divided.' Inslee said.
'The president this week has reminded us that people's voices are more important than ever. Together, we will resist any effort that would violate Washington's values, take away the opportunity for higher education, or break up hard-working families.
'We will not stand by and allow Huskies and Cougars, and so many others to be turned away from their campuses and our state. They are dreamers, and we will not allow this order, or any order, to keep them from their dreams.
'We are not powerless. We will resist any attempt to reduce our nation's already small contribution to aiding people and families who fall victim to global humanitarian crises.
'Any attempt to compromise the ability of our law enforcement agencies to focus on their job of keeping our communities safe will be resisted,' the governor promised.
Congressional leaders also condemn Trump
'It's deeply disappointing but not surprising to see President Trump turn his divisive, campaign rhetoric into the actions we are seeing today,' Sen. Patty Murray said in a statement.
'There's no question the US immigration system is in need of a serious overhaul, but targeting hard-working families, constructing an extremely costly wall, and burdening law enforcement in cities in Washington state and across our country does not even begin to address the complexities of this issue and in fact could set us back. I urge this administration and the Republicans in Congress to work with Democrats on comprehensive immigration reform that truly works for families, for the economy, and for the security of our country.'
The 7th Congressional District's newly elected representative, Pramila Jayapal, took to the floor of the House to denounce Trump.
'As an immigrant myself, I understand the sacrifices and hardships that immigrants experience,' she said.
'My parents sacrificed their very small life savings to send me to the United States at the age of 16, by myself, to pursue college, and that's why I stayed in my district last Friday [inauguration day] to host an immigration roundtable which directly impacted constituents.'
'Like many of us, Mr. Speaker, they have heard reports that this new administration intends to deport millions of people across our country rather than working towards a comprehensive reform of our immigration system, similar to the one that was passed in the other chamber with 68 bipartisan votes - unfortunately, never brought to the floor of this chamber. I heard from children, Mr. Speaker, afraid to go to school out of fear that their parents will be taken away while they are at school. I heard from people whose lives are still in limbo because they have no idea what's going to happen next. But despite their fear, they still are ready to stand together and fight for their futures and their courage and resilience is truly inspiring. We owe it to them to fight alongside them.'
Rep. Adam Smith of the 9th Congressional District was also critical of Trump.
'I am dedicated to fixing our immigration system. A comprehensive solution must include immediate changes to our inhumane and costly private immigration detention facilities that lack proper safety oversight,' he said.
'Allowing immigrants to become productive members of our society will only strengthen our communities, our economy, and our country's future. I applaud our region's local mayors and Gov. Inslee for stating clearly that Washington state will remain a safe haven for those in search of safety. Our local leaders understand that maintaining safe communities and protecting the rights of recent immigrants do not conflict with one another.'
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