Mayor Murray: Seattle will join national legal fight against Trump’s Muslim ban

 

Today, Mayor Ed Murray and City Attorney Pete Holmes directed the City of Seattle to join an amicus brief in Darweesh v. Trump, seeking an injunction against President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. Seattle joins several cities from across the country on this brief, noting the ban’s impact on safety, the economy and security. Mayor Murray released the following statement:

“The stories of immigrant and refugee families are the stories of all our families, whether we arrived here last year or last century. President Trump’s Executive Order threatens to rip families apart, and the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in recent weeks have suggested the Trump Administration will continue targeting families in our communities. Removing people from their homes and instilling fear does not help our security, and it hurts our economy. It is a show of hostility toward all of us – these are our friends, co-workers, neighbors and family.

“We are taking the legal action necessary to stop this and future Executive Orders that aim to target any person based on their religion and we will remain a welcoming city that stands with everyone in our community.”

Darweesh v. Trump challenges the President’s Muslim ban on the grounds it violates due process of valid visa holders and imposes a de facto religious test on immigrants. Cities from across the country have joined the case by filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York. The case stems from the detainment and threatened deportation of Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi national with a valid travel visa, after he arrived in the United States following Trump’s order banning foreigners from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country.

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Mayor Murray, Councilmember González statement on DACA arrest

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide) issued the following statement after news of the arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a 23-year old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient living in Seattle with his father:

“President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has given thousands of people who know no other home than the U.S. the opportunity to be members of our community, have jobs, go to school and raise a family. Because of Congress’ refusal to pass comprehensive immigration reform, DACA has been a critical avenue for people who were brought here as children to live and work in the U.S. without fear of being detained or deported. It has helped break down walls in our communities and made them safer.

“The DACA program remains the current law of the land and DACA recipients continue to have the legal right to live and work in our country.

“Information about the arrest of a DACA recipient last Friday remains scarce and questions remain unanswered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). More details should be released about what led to this arrest, including whether the detention of a DACA recipient is a shift in immigration policy related to DACA recipients. We have sought these answers from ICE’s Seattle Field Office.

“Additionally, given the uncertainty around President Trump’s immigration policies, the Administration and ICE should clarify their stance on this policy. Uncertainty and ambiguity lead to fear in the immigrant community. No person should live in fear that they or a family member will be taken away by the federal government without notice or cause. This fear makes our communities less safe as it makes immigrants less likely to report crimes or work with local law enforcement. And it robs our friends and neighbors of the American dream they were promised whenever they came to our country.

“We want to remind our residents that no City of Seattle official will ever ask about your immigration status. And the Seattle Police Department will not help ICE detain and deport immigrants who are doing nothing more than raising their families and contributing to the vibrant culture and successful economy of our city.

“However, please also know that ICE officials still have the power and jurisdiction to enter into the boundaries of Seattle and conduct these harmful actions without notifying the City. If you are an immigrant, we advise that you review two online video presentations produced by our partners Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Colectiva Legal del Pueblo. These have important Know Your Rights information that you should understand during this uncertain time: https://www.facebook.com/WAimmigrantsolidaritynetwork/videos/

Mayor Murray and Councilmember Gonzalez are requesting details of the arrest from Seattle’s local ICE office this evening. The Mayor’s Office, Council and the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs will continue actively monitoring this incident and any other reports of immigration enforcement activities happening within Washington state.

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Mayor Murray statement on President Trump Executive Order regarding immigrants and refugees

Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement regarding President Trump’s Executive Order limiting immigrants and refugees from specific countries from entering the U.S.:

“President Trump’s Executive Order today essentially targets Muslims based on their religious beliefs and undermines the right to religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment. We cannot become a nation where any person – citizen, immigrant or refugee – must pass a religious test to be accepted and we cannot turn away people who are fleeing violence and persecution based on their beliefs.

“President Trump’s vision of a closed-off, fearful America is not the one Seattleites believe in. We are an inclusive, welcoming city for all – including our immigrant, refugee and Muslim friends, family and neighbors. Refugees are already the most strictly vetted group of immigrants entering the U.S. and President Trump is threatening to turn them away at a time when there is the most need. That is not who we are – we will continue to stand up for our values and with all our residents.”

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‘We will not be intimidated’ – Mayor Murray on President Trump’s executive orders on immigration

 

Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after President Trump signed executive orders on immigration:

“Today is one of the worst days for immigrants in America since Japanese internment. 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.”

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Mayor Murray announces plan and partnership to support immigrant and refugee youth and families

 

Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan to support immigrant and refugee children in Seattle Public Schools and their families, through counseling and legal services, an Inauguration Day event focused on immigrant communities and community education forums aimed at sharing information about immigrant rights and resources. The announcement is part of the $250,000 commitment Mayor Murray made in his Thanksgiving Executive Order reaffirming Seattle’s status as a welcoming city, and looks to leverage resources from partners in the philanthropic, non-profit and private sectors.

Mayor Murray made the announcement with Councilmember M. Lorena González and Seattle Foundation President and CEO Tony Mestres, who has committed Foundation funds to support the partnership and will work to raise additional support from the philanthropic sector. Mayor Murray and Mestres will also convene a group of mayors and philanthropic leaders on the issue during the U.S. Conference of Mayors in two weeks.

“When I visited schools after Election Day, I saw the faces of children who were in fear for themselves and their families and today we are announcing a plan to ensure they get the support they need,” said Mayor Murray. “We cannot only be about protest as we enter this uncertain time – we must also act and this partnership aims to ensure that no child or family in our city lives in fear and that each resident feels welcome. In that spirit, I hope all Seattleites find a community or an organization to serve with on Inauguration Day and throughout the year.”

“Seattle remains a Welcoming City and today’s announcement by Mayor Murray represents our collective dedication to offer a helping hand to our most vulnerable neighbors facing documentation challenges — our youth,” said Councilmember González. “Our commitment to the kids of Seattle will continue throughout the year with legal clinics and other workshops intended to help immigrants and refugees know their rights. Together, our city will continue to defend our community, and we will be stronger and more vibrant because of it.”

“Seattle Foundation stands with the City of Seattle in saying that no student, child or young person in our community should live in fear because of their family’s race, religion or immigration status,” Mestres said. “This election season has left many of our residents wondering how they are going to find a path forward in this time of unrest and change. It is our collective responsibility to ensure there is a place for everyone on our community’s path forward, and that we do not leave anyone behind, especially our kids.”

Mayor Murray announced four elements of the plan today, including:

  1. The Family Unity Project: This effort will consist of community education forums conducted in Seattle Public Schools and other venues, where community partners with legal expertise and experience working with immigrant students will offer information on the importance of power of attorney and resources for those in danger of or already in detention. As part of this program, trainings and technical assistance will be provided to Seattle Public Schools teachers, counselors and administrators, and attorneys from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project will respond to calls from students and parents in danger of being detained.
  2. Counseling and Peer Support: Using successful counseling and peer support models, middle and high school youth from immigrant and refugee families, including DACA youth and Muslim students, will have access to a support group facilitated by a counselor from a community-based organization trained on the challenges faced by immigrant communities.
  3. January 20 (Inauguration Day) Seattle United for Immigrant and Refugee Families: This event at McCaw Hall will offer an array of free services and community education intended to support and protect families. Community education will include a training for Seattle Public Schools staff on how to best support students as well as a training for community members who want to be allies. Services provided with the support of community partners and volunteer attorneys include citizenship application assistance, Know Your Rights presentations, consultations with immigration attorneys, assistance from civil attorneys to complete power of attorney and other documents. Additionally, attendees will receive information about city, county and school services for immigrants, including voter registration, how to report wage theft, how to apply for utility discounts and discounted transit cards, and more.
  4. Clear avenues for the public to report incidents of bias, hate speech and violence: The public can report incidents to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) via phone, email or web. In early 2017, the online reporting form will include a feature allowing residents to upload photos as part of their complaint and can be used to quickly document and report vandalism or other incidents. OCR’s Intake Investigator will review all complaints. If the incident is a crime, it will be referred to SPD. If the incident is related to immigration or other issues, OCR will refer to the appropriate government office or community organization.

To learn more about the Seattle’s Welcoming City policies, click here.

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