Washington City Forced to Put Anti-Sanctuary Initiative on Ballot

(SM Chavey, Liberty Headlines) After a lawsuit based on Washington state law that requires them to place measures before voters once they acquire enough petition signatures, council members for Burien – a suburb of Seattle — have added a proposed repeal of their sanctuary city ordinance on November’s ballot.

Court Forces Washington City to Put Anti-Sanctuary Initiative on Ballot

Burien City Council/YouTube

The city passed the ordinance in January, but thanks to a concerned group of residents, “Proposition 1” will be up for a public vote.

“Sanctuary policies like Burien’s are and always have been illegal, and only serve to put law-abiding citizens in harm’s way,” Immigration Reform Law Institute Executive Director Dale Wilcox said in a statement. “Enforcing our immigration laws by repealing the sanctuary city status is vital it to the public safety of Burien.”

Ordinance 651 bans local officials from asking about immigration status. That ban extends to law enforcement. The ordinance cites a 2009 Pew Hispanic Center report saying there were 140,000 to 210,000 undocumented immigrants living in Washington state.

“Ensuring that all of the City’s residents have access to necessary services and benefits is essential for upholding the City’s commitment to fair and equal access for all residents,” the ordinance said.

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That same month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order against sanctuary cities, threatening to take away their funding (which, in April, was blocked from enforcement by a federal judge.

“Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States,” Trump said in the order. “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.”

Burien asserted they would do nothing about Trump’s order, however.

“Nothing in Ordinance 651 restricts or impedes Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from doing their jobs in Burien,” Burien City Attorney Lisa Marshall said in a news release. “Burien officials, however, will not undertake a separate investigation into immigration matters. Such matters have nothing to do with the provision of local services, such as the issuance of business licenses or land use permits.”

In June, a 19-year-old woman was beaten and sexually assaulted in the gym of her apartment complex in Burien by Salvador Diaz-Garcia, an illegal alien. The girl had a torn ear, missing front teeth, and several cuts on her head. The incident highlighted Burien’s sanctuary city policy.

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Concerned citizens, headed by Respect Washington co-founder Craig Keller, began a petition to put a repeal of the ordinance on the ballot. By mid-July, they had enough signatures. Under state law the city was required to either adopt the measure or place it on the ballot, but Burien did neither.

So Keller took legal action against the city for refusing to make a decision. Monday night, after two hours of public discussion, the Council passed a resolution 6-1 to place Keller’s proposition on the ballot this November. Only three people testified against the ordinance, including Keller.

“Don’t be fooled,” said Pedro Olguin, one of the candidates running for a Council spot. “You are racist, and you are a shame to our community. And I hope you feel that every single day of your lives.”

But those opposed to sanctuary cities, such as the Immigration Reform Law Institute – which helped advise Keller through the process – celebrated the decision.

“With our extensive experience in the field of local enforcement of immigration law, IRLI was able to advise Mr. Keller in the initiative process as well as assist in reviewing the proposition,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Despite the City Council’s initial attempt to evade the citizen’s proposition, we are pleased to see that they were finally compelled to place the issue on the ballot.”

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