Department of Justice threatens King County with subpoenas

Jan 24, 2018, 12:21 PM | Updated: 2:14 pm

Department of Justice, doj threatens king county with sanctuary city subpoenas...

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The Department of Justice is taking another shot at King County, this time threatening it with subpoenas over its sanctuary status.

Should Republicans be the ones backing sanctuary cities?

Twenty-three sanctuary jurisdictions around the country, including King County, received a letter from the DOJ.

The letter states King County could be subpoenaed to provide documents showing whether local law enforcement officers are sharing information with the feds.

Documents requested are: “All documents reflecting any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees (including, but not limited to, police officers, correctional officers, and contract employees), whether formal or informal, that were distributed, produced, and/or in effect during the relevant time frame, regarding whether and how these employees may, or may not, communicate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or their agents…”

You can read the entire letter here.

The threat from the DOJ comes as Congress resumes talks on the country’s immigration system. On Wednesday, the White House announced it is sending the “legislative framework” to Congress to re-energize the immigration debate.

Officials respond to Department of Justice

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan responded Wednesday after county officials received the letter from the Department of Justice.

Durkan — who has previously written to the Trump administration on the issue — said that as a former U.S. attorney, she is prepared for a legal fight with the Trump administration and that “It’s a fight that Donald Trump will lose.” Durkan also said:

We will not allow our city and our state to be bullied by the president and Attorney General Sessions, who continue to threaten our shared values of inclusion, opportunity, and diversity. The administration’s latest legal threats do nothing to make our communities safer.

We do not seek out a fight, but if necessary, we will see President Trump and Attorney General Sessions in court. We have the law – and justice – on our side. We will keep working together to ensure that immigrants and refugees who believe in the promise of America are made to feel welcome here in our community. That includes ensuring that we have the resources in place to protect immigrants and refugees who are unjustly being put at risk.

RELATED: Seattle, King County respond to DOJ sanctuary city letter

King County Council Chair Joe McDermott and County Executive Dow Constantine issued the following statement regarding the subpoena:

The Department of Justice has ramped up its campaign of intimidation, threatening local officials who follow the law and protect local residents.

To be clear, we comply with the requirements for the federal public safety grants. The Department of Justice’s reckless actions threaten the safety of our communities.

Just as we always follow the law, King County will always be a safe, welcoming place for all people.

Sanctuary city issue

Last November, the DOJ asked King County to certify that they are in compliance with federal laws forcing local cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Seattle and King County officials have told the Justice Department that the region will remain a “safe and welcoming place.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and County Council chair Joe McDermott responded to a recent Department of Justice letter threatening to cut grant funding to sanctuary cities like Seattle.

“The Trump administration’s attempt to coerce cities like Seattle into enforcing federal immigration policies violates the US constitution,” Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said.

The county has until Feb. 23 to respond to the latest request from the Department of Justice.

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Department of Justice threatens King County with subpoenas