‘There’s a lot of smoke.’ Seattle leaders weigh in on Trump’s sanctuary city threat

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SEATTLE — The Trump Administration said it’s no longer a threat. It’s a promise.  Sanctuary cities will lose federal funding if they don’t comply with federal immigration laws.

Seattle is one of those numerous sanctuary cities across the country where police do no go out of their way to help get undocumented immigrants deported.

"Basically, what he is opposing is to make cities like Seattle not safe,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

Mayor Murray told Q13 News Monday afternoon that despite the recent announcement, he isn’t backing down.

“You can’t use federal money to be punitive to a jurisdiction,” Mayor Murray said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that this is all about safety. However, Murray said his argument doesn’t make sense based on where all of that federal money goes.

"Those grants normally go to put police department and those grants help with things such as police reform, child sex-trafficking,” said Mayor Murray.

Even with millions of dollars at stake for Seattle police, the mayor also said he believes the Trump Administration’s move is illegal and unconstitutional.

"The courts have said that cities do not have to cooperate with immigration authorities when they attempt to detain immigrants,” said Mayor Murray. “To try and punish us for actually trying to follow the law, we think they are going to lose.”

King County Sheriff John Urquhart told Q13 News his department doesn’t have to change. It is already doing everything right.

"There's a lot of smoke that came out of that press conference today, but when you drill down and read what he says, I'm not the least bit concerned,” said Sheriff Urquhart.

The Sheriff said because his deputies already follow federal law, he is not worried about losing roughly $175,000 to his department.

"Not only did we used to follow this part of federal law. We're doing it today. We're doing it tomorrow. We're going to continue doing it,” said Sheriff Urquhart.

If an officer or deputy refused to turn someone in under a warrant from a federal judge, it would be against the law. However, Mayor Murray contends that detaining or holding someone simply because of their immigration status is unconstitutional and not a crime.