AN ORDINANCE concerning inquiries by Seattle City officers and employees into immigration status, and activities designed to ascertain such status; and amending Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 4.18 in connection therewith.
- Date introduced/referred: December 9, 2002
- Date passed: January 27, 2003 Status: Passed As Amended Vote: 9-0 Date of Mayor's signature: February 5, 2003
- Committee: Neighborhoods, Arts and Civil
- Sponsor: LICATA
Index Terms: CITIZENSHIP, CIVIL-RIGHTS, CITY-EMPLOYEES, POLICE-DEPARTMENT, PUBLIC-REGULATIONS
- AN ORDINANCE concerning inquiries
- by Seattle City officers and employees into immigration status, and activities
- designed to ascertain such status; and amending Seattle Municipal Code Chapter
- 4.18 in connection therewith.
WHEREAS, the city of Seattle is comprised of immigrants from throughout the world who contribute to Seattle's social vivacity and cultural richness; and
WHEREAS, Seattle has been a city that traditionally respects the rights of and provides equal services to all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, or immigration status; and
WHEREAS, the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have left immigrant communities of color afraid to access benefits to which they are entitled, for fear of being reported to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS); and
WHEREAS, the Seattle Police Department issued a Directive on June 6, 2002, providing guidelines stating, among other things, that Seattle Police officers may not request specific documents for the sole purpose of determining a person's civil immigration status, and may not initiate police action based solely on a person's civil immigration status; and
WHEREAS, all Seattle City officers and employees should be afforded analogous guidance with respect to inquiries into immigration status; and
WHEREAS, a number of other jurisdictions in the United States have enacted policies or laws recognizing that their officers and employees should properly play a limited role with respect to matters relating to immigration status; and
WHEREAS, these amendments to Seattle Municipal Code Ch. 4.18 are consistent with federal laws regarding localities' responsibilities to cooperate with federal immigration authorities; and
- WHEREAS, this ordinance is not
- intended to interfere with the enforcement of laws.
WHEREAS, amending SMC Ch. 4.18.is an effective way to guide city officials and employees to adhere to federal law while helping to protect the safety and health of all members of our community.
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. A new Section 4.18.015 is added to Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 4.18, as follows:
- Inquiries into immigration status.
(A) Notwithstanding Seattle Municipal Code Section 4.18.010, unless otherwise required by law or by court order, no Seattle City officer or employee shall inquire into the immigration status of any person, or engage in activities designed to ascertain the immigration status of any person.
- Seattle Police officers are exempted from the limitations imposed by Subsection (A), above, with respect to a person whom the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe: (1) has previously been deported from the United States; (2) is again present in the United States; and (3) is committing or has committed a felony criminal-law violation.