Portland’s City Council is voting this week on whether to join a lawsuit Seattle has filed over the Trump administration’s threat to withhold funding from sanctuary cities.
The president’s directive came as part of a January executive order on interior immigration enforcement.
Seattle filed the suit against President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month.
The city has a policy that says employees are not supposed to ask people about their immigration status. Portland has similar guidelines in place.
In the suit, Seattle has asked a court order to affirm its policy.
The city also asks for the court to declare Seattle is not a “sanctuary jurisdiction,” as defined in the president’s executive order, and to declare the threat to withhold federal funding violates several sections of the Constitution that protect states’ rights.
Portland’s City Council will vote Wednesday on whether to join the lawsuit. Portland’s attorneys say the executive order could potentially apply to $29 million in federal grants the city received this year.
Sessions has said cities must comply with a federal law, 8 U.S.C. 1373, which requires them to share information with immigration authorities.
City leaders in Portland and Seattle have said even as sanctuary cities they do comply with that federal law. City leaders also contend the administration is trying to pressure local law enforcement officers to, in effect, participate in immigration enforcement operations.
Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement gives the secretary of homeland security the authority to designate sanctuary jurisdictions and directs federal officials to ensure those jurisdictions are not eligible to receive federal grants, to the extent that is legally possible.
David Lapan, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency cannot comment on pending litigation.
He said Portland and Seattle have not been officially designated as sanctuary jurisdictions by DHS because the agency has not yet decided on a definition of a “sanctuary jurisdiction.”