A packed council audience rises to applaud Seattle’s resistance against President Donald Trump. Photo by Casey Jaywork.

Seattle City Council Unanimously Passes ‘Welcoming City’ Resolution

Seattle welcomes Muslims, immigrants, refugees, and the homeless, according to the resolution.

This afternoon, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring Seattle a “Welcoming City” to the immigrants, refugees and Muslims that President Donald Trump targeted last week in an executive order. The resolution directs the Seattle Police Department to (eventually) not help other police agencies at hunting for undocumented immigrants. The King County Council also passed a resolution condemning the executive order.

“In just ten days, the Trump administration has made a mockery of the Constitution,” said councilmember M. Lorena González, who sponsored the resolution, before its vote. She railed against Trump’s infamous characterization of Mexicans: “My parents first came to this country as undocumented immigrants. My parents are not rapists, murderers, or drug dealers, Mr. Trump.

“Seattle,” she said, “are you ready to stand as one?” The entire audience of about 200 people stood and applauded at length.

González’s resolution does a couple things. First, it begins the process of preventing Seattle police from assisting other police departments at hunting undocumented immigrants. Like most police agencies, Seattle police have a “mutual aid” agreement with other departments which allows them to call on one another for backup. But Seattle also has a law preventing police from (usually) asking about someone’s immigration status, and González’s resolution directs city employees “to not detain or arrest any individual based upon an administrative or civil immigration warrant for a violation of federal civil immigration law” unless there’s a criminal warrant signed by a federal judge. So what happens if another police agency asks for SPD’s help with rounding up immigrants for the federal government?

To defuse this potential conflict of directives, González’s resolution directs SPD to provide a list of all the mutual aid agreements it has with other police agencies. The list has to identify which police agencies have promised to help federal immigration police find and arrest undocumented immigrants, as well as which ones haven’t. Finally, the list must be accompanied by “proposed amendments to the City’s mutual aid agreements with jurisdictions that have not explicitly rejected offers to” help the feds hunt undocumented immigrants, so that SPD’s mutual aid responsibilities do not conflict with Seattle’s sanctuary city laws.

The resolution also defends the Black Lives Matter movement, saying the city “rejects any effort to criminalize or attack the Black Lives Matter social justice movement.” It directs city departments to develop a plan for “assisting children and families associated with Seattle Public Schools affected by federal policies directed at immigrants and refugees,” and earmarks a quarter million dollars for this purpose. It creates an Equity Cabinet to advise the mayor and city on how to protect vulnerable Seattleites from President Trump. That Equity Cabinet is specifically tasked, among other things, with developing “a strategy for the creation and funding of a Legal Defense Fund to assist immigrant and refugee individuals and families.” Also noteworthy: the resolution says that Seattle is a Welcoming City not only to immigrants and refugees, but also to homeless people.

During public comment before the vote, ACLU WA deputy director Michele Storms informed the council that her organization and its national affiliate are prepared to defend Seattle and other sanctuary cities in court against President Trump’s promise to cut all federal funding. “Both locally and nationally the ACLU is going to continue to work against these executive orders,” she told us afterward, “which are unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment. [They’re] a violation of due process and equal protection for people.”

Do you think we’re in a Constitutional crisis?

“Yeah, there’s a risk,” she said. “There’s absolutely a risk. And that’s why we’re fighting.”




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Kent man charged with Seattle murder

July 21 at a motel along Aurora Avenue North

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference July 23, 2020.
Governor tightens restrictions on restaurants, bars, weddings, funerals

Staff reports Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday (July 23) he is… Continue reading

Abortions could stop at Virginia Mason if merger is approved, reproductive rights advocates say

Hospital representatives said “certain services” would cease, but wouldn’t give specifics.

Do opportunity zones in King County work?

The zones were created by Congress in 2017 to create jobs and spur economic development.

Sound Transit breaks ground on Federal Way Link Extension

The $3.1 billion project includes three new stations near Kent/Des Moines, South 272nd Street and the Federal Way Transit Center.

Extra $600 in federal benefit for unemployed workers set to end July 25

Payment is on top of base weekly state benefit amount

Bullet that killed Bothell officer came from partner’s gun

But prosecutors say that’s “immaterial,” and charged Henry Washington with aggravated murder Friday.

Inslee warns of stay home order as COVID cases rise

The governor urges young people, who are not getting infected the most, to curb their social habits.