“Sanctuary” Policy is Bad Public Policy (2015)
What are sanctuary policies?
"Sanctuary" policies are ordinances, resolutions, executive actions or any initiatives that prohibit local officials from inquiring, acting on, or reporting an individual's immigration status—even when there is reasonable suspicion that an individual is in the country illegally.
In cities across the country, local jurisdictions have gone so far as to shield illegal aliens by adopting policies that restrict state and local police from cooperating with federal authorities. In all but the most serious cases, they are being directed to ignore U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers.1 Cities with such anti-detainer policies are considered "Sanctuary Cities."
Why is this bad policy?
Sanctuary policies conflict with federal law. Congress adopted The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 that prohibited state and local governments from prohibiting employees from receiving or sharing information on illegal aliens with federal government immigration officials.
Sanctuary policies are expensive. The cost to provide education, health care, criminal justice, as well as general services to illegal aliens is $113 Billion per year—a cost borne by U.S. taxpayers.
Sanctuary policies create a magnet for illegal immigration. By accommodating those who violate our immigration laws, sanctuary policies encourage others to follow the same path, and gives prospective immigrants little incentive to pursue legal paths to immigration.
Sanctuary policies are unfair to legal immigrants. Tolerating illegal immigration and providing a "safe haven" for illegal aliens is unfair to immigrants who respect our nation's laws and abide by the entry, employment, health and processing regulations, and patiently wait for months or years for citizenship.
Sanctuary policies undermine national security efforts. With an estimated 11.7 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S. and fewer than 15,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, it is clear that sanctuary policies seriously diminish our national security efforts. By removing a crucial component of interior enforcement—state and local law enforcement—sanctuary policies essentially create an environment where terrorists and other criminal aliens can go unnoticed and uninterrupted.
Building trust in the community means uniformly enforcing all laws for all residents. Selectively excluding illegal aliens from the law for political gain reduces trust in law enforcement, and puts us all at risk.
1 An immigration detainer "serves to advise another law enforcement agency that the Department [of Homeland Security, specifically ICE] "seeks custody of an alien presently in the custody of that agency, for the purpose of arresting and removing the alien."
Congress Must Act Now to End Sanctuary City Policies