The Hill

Sanctuary Policies

Fast Facts
  • There are 564 lawless “sanctuary” jurisdictions throughout the United States as of May 2018. The number rose sharply under Presidents Obama (from 40 in 2009 to 338 in 2016) and Trump.
  • Sanctuary jurisdictions frequently release dangerous convicted illegal alien felons – including rapists, murderers, and pedophiles – into the general population.
  • The Supreme Court has declared immigration an exclusively federal domain in Arizona v. United States (567 U.S. 387) in 2012. This makes sanctuary policies illegal and unconstitutional.
  • Because they undermine federal law and give aid and comfort to illegal alien criminals, the U.S. government is well within its right to defund sanctuary jurisdictions and demand that they change these harmful policies.
The Truth About “Sanctuary” Policies

Sanctuary policies are those followed by towns, cities, counties, states, and other jurisdictions that restrict most forms of cooperation with federal immigration authorities. They are explicitly forbidden under federal law (8 USC § 1373) and violate the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) and the 10th Amendment. They also undermine the rule of law by violating federal immigration policies. By refusing to hand over criminal aliens to federal authorities for deportation and releasing them, noncompliant jurisdictions are irresponsibly exposing their residents to potential harm.

In fact, American citizens (and sometimes illegal aliens themselves) have been killed or otherwise victimized by criminal illegal aliens who benefited from sanctuary policies. Sanctuary jurisdictions serve as an attractive magnet for illegal aliens, criminals among them in particular.

Although sanctuary policies have been around since the late 1970s, they were relatively rare until quite recently. Only eleven had been adopted before 2000 (including New York City and San Francisco, as well as the country’s first sanctuary state, Oregon, in 1987). Only 40 had been adopted by the time President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009. During the Obama era, the number of sanctuary jurisdictions grew by 650 percent. That exponential growth was spurred on by the Obama administration’s efforts to dismantle immigration enforcement and its tacit encouragement of local governments to do the same.

By contrast, during the Trump administration, sanctuary policies have served as a way for left-leaning state and local governments to “virtue signal” by demonstrating their anti-Trump bona fides and emphasizing their opposition to the President’s pro-enforcement rhetoric and policies. At the end of the day, however, the main victims of these foolish policies are American citizens, legal immigrants, and even illegal aliens.