The City of West Palm Beach is suing the Trump administration over its tightening of immigration laws. The suit asks that the city’s policy as a “welcoming city” be deemed compliant as is – even with the stricter federal laws.
West Palm Beach, along with 22 other jurisdictions such as New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, have been the focus of the United States Justice Department’s efforts to crackdown on sanctuary cities and counties with immigrant-protecting laws. Part of the Federal restrictions include withholding funding from such places.
West Palm Beach declared itself a “welcoming city” last March. The designation includes prohibiting city employees from asking about an individual’s immigration status. It also disallows employees from assisting in an immigration investigation. It does not prevent employees from sharing information if it is required by state or federal law.
Approximately 27 percent of West Palm Beach residents are foreign born.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this week, the city has accused the Justice Department of “erroneous and recurring harassment of the city and its officials based upon wrongly perceived non-compliance.”
In January, West Palm Beach received a letter requiring the city to produce documents showing that they are not withholding information about the immigration status of individuals in custody. The letter threatens to issue subpoenas to officials if they do not comply.
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has consistently cited “sanctuary cities” and their policies for the rise in crime and gang violence throughout the country.