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Sanctuary city Seattle could lose funding under Trump

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray admitted he was nervous over the Trump administration cutting federal funding from Seattle because of its Sanctuary City status. (KIRO 7)

Donald J. Trump could be in office for less than a day before he takes a bite out of Seattle’s budget. It all centers on Seattle’s status as a sanctuary city.

The Republican president-elect announced that on the first day he is in office, he will take action to “restore security and the constitutional rule of law.” That includes cutting all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.

Seattle is a sanctuary city

Seattle passed an ordinance in 2003 denoting it as a Sanctuary City. As a Sanctuary City, Seattle shields residents from federal immigration authorities. It prevents police from asking residents about immigration status without a reasonable suspicion that the person had “previously been deported from the United States,” and is or has “committed a felony criminal-law violation.”

Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday that Seattle will remain a sanctuary city. KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson spoke with Trump in August about Seattle being a sanctuary city and Washington a de facto sanctuary state for refugees.

“Basically, they’re just a way of protecting people coming in and in many cases and you have people that are being protected that shouldn’t be allowed in our country, that are at the highest level of criminal element — they’re killers — and sanctuary cities are out,” Trump said at the time.

Dori also asked State Senator Benton how Trump’s plan will manifest itself.

“If, in fact, you are officially a sanctuary city and you’re in Washington state, you had better start looking at how much money you are getting from the federal government because Donald Trump has made it very clear that he is not going to allow cities to violate the US Constitution and federal law and still get money,” Benton said. “So I think it’s about time for people to start taking a look at their policies and realizing just because you’re elected mayor doesn’t mean that you get to ignore the constitution or federal law.”

Homeless impact

How far Trump is willing to go with funding cuts likely won’t be seen until he takes the oath of office and officially becomes the 45th president. However, several aspects of Seattle government are potentially threatened, including funding to help the city deal with its homeless crisis.

Back in January 2015, Seattle and King County received a record $28 million in federal homeless assistance grants. That included $3.6 million to create new housing opportunities.

If the city loses that funding, it could throw a kink in leaders’ efforts to reduce the number of people sleeping on the streets. Murray’s 2017-18 proposed budget previously vowed to increase the spending on homelessness well over the $50 million set aside for 2016.

Murray has continued to say that combating homelessness in Seattle and other large cities cannot be left to them alone. It requires assistance from the state and federal government. But on Wednesday, Murray hinted at the idea that he may have to ask Seattle voters to approve a new levy in order to fund homeless services, if Trump’s promises come to fruition. However, that wouldn’t be the first time Murray has suggested this.

Kipp Robertson and Eric Mandel contributed to this story.

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