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Local officials claim victory over executive order on sanctuary cities

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SEATTLE – Mayor Ed Murray is applauding the ruling by a federal judge that has blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order to withhold federal funding from communities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

“Seattle filed a lawsuit, San Francisco did, the court basically stayed the president’s executive order against sanctuary cities, so once again the rule of law is prevailing,” said Murray.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued the temporary ruling in a lawsuit over the executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities. The decision will stay in place while the lawsuit moves through court.

“There’s definitely a lot of relief in the community,” said Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle.

Baron called the ruling on Trump’s executive order a reassurance to the local immigrant community.

“There are a lot of people that have been relieved, that certainly is what I have been hearing from lots of other folks in this community who are pleased with this ruling,” he said. “[It] helps clarify that this is not what the local jurisdiction should be involved in.”

The fear that cities like Seattle would choose funding over their promise, he said, came down with the judge’s gavel.

“The president can’t just take money away from cities without basis in law.”

King County Council Chairman Joe McDermott said the threats from the administration were “scare tactics from the very beginning.”

He said withholding funds would not be enough to make the county renege on their promise to immigrants that they are a sanctuary city.

“This is a small step in alleviating that fear and making sure people recognize that places like King County are welcoming, affirming places for everyone that lives here,” he said. “I think the president’s actions in the last 100 days have consistently been about bullying and intimidation and we in King County will stand up to that on every occasion.”

Baron said the ruling helps to reassure immigrants living in King County, but it doesn’t put all minds at ease and it shouldn’t.

“We don’t want people to feel that this means everyone is safe. Because Immigration is still out there, picking up people from the community and that’s not ultimately impacted by this decision.”

Baron said he is expecting the fight to continue.

“I do expect that this is not going to be the final word. I think there is probably going to be other legal cases and the administration will probably try and appeal this ruling.”

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