Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City joins Amicus brief opposing President Trump’s “sanctuary city” Executive Order

Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced Salt Lake City has joined 33 other cities and counties across the United States in a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Santa Clara County’s motion to block enforcement of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13678. The Executive Order signed on January 25, 2017, addresses immigration enforcement in the United State, and threatens jurisdictions that are deemed by the Administration to be “sanctuary jurisdictions” with reprisals. The case has been filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of California.

One day after President Trump signed the Executive Order, Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown, joined local elected officials and community members in reassuring residents that the Salt Lake City Police Department had no desire to act as immigration enforcement agents. Speaking at the time, Mayor Biskupski said, “confusion is no way to govern, and fear is certainly no way to police.”

The brief challenges the constitutionality of the Executive Order, starting with the Order’s failure to define what constitutes a “sanctuary” city or county. The brief is joined by some cities and counties that consider themselves “sanctuary” jurisdictions, and some that do not, including Salt Lake City. The brief argues this vague and undefined language violates the Fifth Amendment’s due process requirement because it fails to indicate what actions would cause the Administration to take punitive measures. The Order also fails to establish a procedure for cities and counties to appeal a decision made by the Administration.

The brief also argues President Trump does not have the power to withhold funding authorized by Congress, and that the Order violates the Tenth Amendment by usurping local police power by commandeering scarce city and county resources.

“From the moment it was proposed, this Executive Order has had an unsettling effect on cities because it asks local law enforcement to assume responsibilities which would jeopardize their ability to keep communities safe,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Without definition or process, the Trump Administration is demanding blind obedience while usurping local control and ignoring the Constitution.”

“Requiring police to enforce federal immigration law undermines the trust and cooperation with immigrant communities, which is a central element of our department’s community policing model,” said Chief Mike Brown. “It is only when all people feel safe to report crimes to law enforcement that we can truly protect everyone in our community.”

The 34 cities and counties joining the Amicus are home to more than 24 million residents. The jurisdictions include Menlo Park, CA; Denver, Sacramento, Albany, and Seattle.

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