Federal Policy Analysis

Sanctuary Cities: Obstructing Immigration Enforcement

Oct 06, 2015  |  Permalink |   |  
Sanctuary cities—State and local jurisdictions with policies that obstruct immigration enforcement— pose a serious threat to the safety of the American people. Although some “sanctuary” policies were enacted ten or more years ago, they finally received national media attention this summer after Kate Steinle was tragically shot and killed in San Francisco. The shooter, Francisco Sanchez, is an illegal alien with seven convictions and five previous deportations. (FAIR Legislative Update, July 8, 2015) Importantly, Sanchez admitted he went to San Francisco because he knew it is a sanctuary city that would protect him from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). (Id.) 

While San Francisco is the most notable sanctuary city, there are now hundreds of them throughout the country. Tellingly, the overwhelming majority of sanctuary jurisdictions have emerged since President Obama took office in 2009. This, of course, corresponds with President Obama’s systematic dismantling of immigration enforcement. Remarkably, Congress has stood on the sidelines for years, allowing these jurisdictions to defy federal immigration law with impunity. Congress must act now, using its power of the purse, to deny federal funds to these jurisdictions that refuse to comply with our duly enacted immigration laws.