Seattle announces lawsuit over Trump's sanctuary cities threat

SEATTLE — Seattle is suing President Donald Trump over his executive order that threatens to withhold federal funds from communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally.

Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday the executive order issued in January punishing "sanctuary cities" is unconstitutional.

"The time to act is now," Murray said. "Inconsistent and incorrect statements from the Trump Administration have created too much fear and uncertainty."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated this week that the Justice Department would deny grant money to cities that violate a federal law dealing with information-sharing among local police and federal authorities.

Murray said the federal government cannot compel the city's police department to enforce federal immigration law. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, says the executive order creates uncertainty around the city's budget.

Seattle City Councilmembers M. Lorena González and Debora Juarez said the city council fully backs the suit.

"We're all in on this lawsuit," González and Juarez said in a joint statement. "Make no mistake, the City of Seattle will not be coerced into allowing the Trump Administration to use local police as a federal militia."

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, also praised the mayor's decision.

"Seattle has been at the forefront of standing up for immigrants for decades," Jayapal said. "As one of the most welcoming cities in one of the most welcoming states in the country, we understand that our communities are stronger when our policies ensure the participation of everyone, regardless of immigration status."

San Francisco sued Trump over the sanctuary cities issue earlier this year, also saying his order was unconstitutional.

This story will be updated shortly.