By Jack Mayne

A division of the Washington State Court of Appeals has rejected a move by political activist Craig Keller and his Respect Washington political action committee to repeal a Burien city ordinance outlawing city police and staff from asking questions about immigration status.

The ruling came after Respect Washington sought to impose another statute that was supposed to be voted on in November 2017 but was ordered off the ballot because the ruling was already invalid as it was “administrative in nature and thereby exceed[ed] the local initiative power.”

The appeals court said there was “the need for expertise on the challenging and charged question of whether local government agents should question ”individuals about immigration or citizenship status and suggested “questioning regarding one’s citizenship status should be reserved to the expertise of law enforcement administrators.”

The Court also said the Burien ordinance was adopted by the Burien Police and was the same as the King County Sheriff’s Office rules. This is logical, said the court because the Burien force is staffed by the county sheriff’s office.

The court said the city ordinance “is consistent with policies supporting” of the county.

Also, the city ordinance also notes that the King County Superior Court “has adopted a policy that” says people should “not be executed within any of the superior court courtrooms unless directly ordered by the presiding judicial officer.”

So unless overturned by a higher court, the city statute ordering no questioning of immigration status remains in effect” — unless there is a warrant or other court order.

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.