City of Seattle v. Trump
IRLI filed an amicus curiae brief in the case of City of Seattle v. Donald J. Trump in support of President Trump's January 25, 2017 Executive Order (EO) cracking down on sanctuary cities. The EO threatens to cut off federal funds to any sanctuary city that does not comply with a federal statute that bars states and localities from prohibiting their employees from sharing immigration status information with the federal government (8 U.S.C. section 1373). Seattle, a notorious sanctuary city, has sued to halt the EO's implementation, claiming it violates the Spending Clause of the Constitution.
Seattle is concerned because it municipal code forbids city officers and employees to "inquire into the immigration status of any person, or engage in activities designed to ascertain the immigration status of any person." In its brief, IRLI argued that Seattle's law violates, and is preempted by, section 1373. Even apart from section 1373, IRLI argued that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with a wider federal program and works to thwart congressional objectives. IRLI concluded that because the city's lawsuit is premised on an unlawful and unconstitutional policy, it should be dismissed.