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Seattle gets federal grant — despite Trump threat

caption: Police officers at a 2017 rally in downtown Seattle.
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Police officers at a 2017 rally in downtown Seattle.
KUOW Photo / Daniel Berman

Seattle and King County have won a round against the Trump administration over their immigration sanctuary policies.

The Justice Department has approved a federal grant for law enforcement even though President Donald Trump threatened to withhold the money from cities and counties that declared themselves sanctuaries for immigrants.

Seattle and King County policies forbid city and county staff from asking about immigration status. Last year, the Justice Department sent out letters saying such policies might violate a federal law that requires local governments to share immigration data.

Mayor Jenny Durkan argued that if the data were never collected, it couldn’t be shared.

Over the summer, federal appeals courts said the administration had exceeded presidential authority by interfering with Congress’ intent in approving grants.

Now city, county and other agencies will split the justice assistance grant for $657,975. The city says the police department will hire three crime-prevention specialists.

In a statement, Durkan said “Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions blinked, Seattle won, and public safety prevailed.”

You can read the grant letter here.

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