Despite an executive order threatening the withdrawal of federal funds and other penalties, Bellevue will remain an inclusive city and police officers will not inquire about immigration status, city officials said in a Jan. 26 statement.
“Just like many of our residents, city officials are closely monitoring how changes on the federal level may impact us locally on key issues such as immigration,” the statement reads. “Right now, we are still evaluating how the executive orders issued by President Trump this week will impact us here. What we do know is that the city of Bellevue remains strongly committed to our policy of inclusion.”
The order that Trump signed dictates that all government jurisdictions must enforce immigration laws. The controversial order reads that “tens of thousands of removable aliens have been released into communities across the country … Many of these aliens are criminals who have served time in our federal, state and local jails.”
Jurisdictions that refuse to comply are ineligible to receive federal grants, with the exception of money for law enforcement purposes. It also gives the attorney general of the United States the ability to take enforcement action against any entity that violates the executive order.
Bellevue has not officially labeled itself a “sanctuary city” and Thursday’s release did not state that they will defy Trump’s order, but city officials have stated that they value the city’s diversity. When asked if they were officially labelling themselves a sanctuary city and considering the loss of federal funds, city spokesperson Lenka Wright reiterated that the city is evaluating the orders but doesn’t expect to make any changes to current policy.
Following the election in November, Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett stated that his department will not inquire into a person’s immigration status during contact with crime suspects, witnesses or victims. As of press time, that policy will be upheld.