Trump sanctuary cities order has no effect on Burien ordinance, city attorney says 3

By Jack Mayne

Nothing in the recently passed Burien ordinance making the city an immigration sanctuary will run afoul of the recent order from President Trump regarding the punishment of sanctuary cities.

Simply put, nothing in Ordinance 651 (download PDF here) is in conflict with the President’s Executive Order, Burien City Attorney Lisa Marshall said in a news release Thursday afternoon, Jan. 26.

Marshall says the city ordinance says that city police and city officials “will not inquire into a person’s immigration status, nor would local government officials have a reason to.”

The city attorney reiterates what was said at the recent Council meeting where the ordinance was approved.

“Nothing in Ordinance 651 restricts or impedes Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from doing their jobs in Burien,” Marshall wrote.

“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.”

Deputy Mayor Nancy Tosta said the city knows public safety is a major issue for Burien residents.

“The confidence all members of our community have in dealing with our police force and city officials is an important aspect of ensuring that safety,” Tosta said. “A diverse, united community will help keep us all safe.”

The Burien ordinance requires Burien city staff and law enforcement personnel to not inquire about immigration status and is similar to what other cities and counties are calling a “sanctuary city” ordinance.

The city’s news release on Thursday said the goal of the ordinance is to send a strong message to our community that public safety is the primary concern, and “that it is safe for all our residents to contact law enforcement to report a crime. The policy does not allow or encourage undocumented individuals to commit crimes without punishment.”

The ordinance ensures that local police and city staff can focus on their jobs, “instead of handling immigration matters best left to federal immigration officers.”

On Jan. 25, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which states in pertinent part:

Federal law says local officials may not prohibit the “sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”

The King County Sherriff’s Office’s has a long-standing policy of not inquiring into a person’s immigration status and city officials say the local ordinance “is intended to send a message that local officials will do their jobs and leave the job of the federal government to federal officials.”

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, said on the PBS Newshour Thursday evening that sanctuary cities cannot keep violating federal laws to protect illegals. The City of Burien has stressed and statutes verify that the sanctuary designation does not permit or condone violation of any federal law. It merely says local officials and local police will not move in to enforce federal laws, that the enforcement of federal violations will be up to federal law enforcement agents but Burien Police will assist them if asked or required.

Here’s the full text of Burien’s Ordinance 651:


ORDINANCE NO. 651 ______________________________________________________________________________


WHEREAS, the City of Burien wishes to adopt an ordinance declaring the City of Burien a sanctuary city;


Section 1. Chapter Created. There is hereby created a Chapter 2.26 of the Burien Municipal Code entitled “Immigration Inquiries Prohibited” which shall read as follows:

Section 2.26.010 Findings. The City of Burien is a code city organized under RCW 35.02 and Article 11 Section 10 of the Washington State Constitution. Under its police powers, the City may exercise any power and perform any function, unless preempted by state or federal law, relating to its government and affairs, including the power to regulate for the protection and rights of its inhabitants. To this end, the City is dedicated to providing all of its residents fair and equal access to services, opportunities and protection. While precise figures are difficult to quantify, a 2009 Pew Hispanic Center report estimated that between one hundred forty thousand and two hundred ten thousand undocumented immigrants live 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 enforcement of civil immigration laws have historically been a federal government responsibility through the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Since 2002, matters of immigration law have been handled by the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Requiring local law enforcement agencies, which are not specifically equipped or trained, to enforce civil immigration laws forces local governments to expend their limited resources to perform traditionally federal functions.

A goal of this legislation is to foster trust and cooperation between law enforcement officials and immigrant communities to heighten crime prevention and public safety.

Since 1992, the King County sheriff’s office has embraced this goal and outlined Burien contracts pursuant to RCW 39.34 and BMC 8.05.010 shall not condition the provision of health benefits, opportunities or services on matters related to citizenship or immigration status. The Seattle-King County supporting policies in its operations manual, with which this ordinance is consistent.

Another goal of this legislation is to promote the public health of City of Burien residents.

On April 22, 2008, King County Superior Court affirmed the principle that our courts must remain open and accessible for all individuals and families to resolve disputes on the merits by adopting a policy that warrants for the arrest of individuals based on their immigration status shall not be executed within any of the superior court courtrooms unless directly ordered by the presiding judicial officer and shall be discouraged in the superior court courthouses, unless the public’s safety is at immediate risk. Shortly after the affirmation’s adoption, the King County Executive and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed to honor this policy.

This ordinance is intended to be consistent with federal laws regarding communications between local jurisdictions and federal immigration authorities, including but not limited to United States Code Title 8, Section 1373.

Section 2.26.020 Prohibition. Except as provided in this section or when otherwise required by law, a City office, department, employee, agency or agent shall not condition the provision of City services on the citizenship or immigration status of any individual.

    1. Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed to prohibit any City of Burien officer or employee from participating in cross-designation or task force activities with federal law enforcement authorities.
    2. The City of Burien personnel shall not request specific documents relating to a person’s civil immigration status for the sole purpose of determining whether the individual has violated federal civil immigration laws. The documents include but are not limited to: passports; alien registration cards; or work permits.
    3. The City of Burien personnel may use documents relating to a person’s civil immigration status if the documents are offered by the person upon a general, nonspecific request.
    4. The City of Burien personnel shall not initiate any inquiry or enforcement action based solely on a person’s:
      a. civil immigration status;
      b. race;c. inability to speak English; or
      d. inability to understand the deputy.
    5. The Seattle-King County department of public health, with which the City of Burien contracts pursuant to RCW 39.34 and BMC 8.05.010 shall not condition the provision of health benefits, opportunities or services on matters related to citizenship or immigration status. The Seattle-King County department of public health may inquire about or disclose information relating to an individual’s citizenship or immigration status for the purpose of determining eligibility for benefits or seeking reimbursement from federal, state or other third-party payers.

F. Except when otherwise required by law, where the City accepts presentation of a state-issued driver’s license or identification card as adequate evidence of identity, presentation of a photo identity document issued by the person’s nation of origin, such as a driver’s license, passport or matricula consular, which is a consulate-issued document, shall be accepted and shall not subject the person to a higher level of scrutiny or different treatment than if the person had provided a Washington state driver’s license or identification card. However, a request for translation of such a document to English shall not be deemed a violation of any provision of this ordinance and any subsequent ordinance. This provision does not apply to documentation required to complete a federal 1-9 employment eligibility verification form.

G. This section does not create or form the basis for liability on the part of the City, its officers, employees or agents.

H. Unless permitted by this ordinance or otherwise required by state or federal law or international treaty, all applications, questionnaires and interview forms used in relation to the provision of City benefits, opportunities or services shall be promptly reviewed by each agency, and any question requiring disclosure of information related to citizenship or immigration status shall be, in the agency’s best judgment, either deleted in its entirety or revised such that the disclosure is no longer required.

Section 3. Severability. Should any section, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this Ordinance, or its application to any person or circumstance, be declared unconstitutional or otherwise invalid for any reason, or should any portion of this Ordinance be pre-empted by state or federal law or regulation, such decision or pre-emption shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance or its application to other persons or circumstances.

Section 4. Effective Date. This ordinance shall be published in the official newspaper of the City, and shall take effect and be in full force five (5) days after publication.



______________________________ Lucy Krakowiak, Mayor


______________________________ Monica Lusk, City Clerk

Approved as to form:

______________________________ Lisa Marshall, City Attorney

Filed with the City Clerk: Passed by the City Council: Ordinance No.:
Date of Publication: