California Tops ICE Sanctuary City List
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data obtained by the Texas Tribune, local jails across the country failed to hand over removable aliens to federal authorities 18,646 times between January 2014 and September 2015. (Texas Tribune, Jan. 15, 2016)
Not surprisingly, the state with the most incidents of refusing to cooperate with ICE detainers is California. According to the news report, 11,000 of the refusals came from the Golden State, which has in place a statewide sanctuary policy. Alarmingly, nearly 8,000 (or 71 percent) of the declined detainers reported from California are listed as for aliens with records of prior criminal history.
The number of detainers declined by California (11,171) far exceeds the number of those declined by the other top 10 refusing states. Those states include: New York (1,965); Colorado (1,143); Florida (1,108); Washington (516); Illinois (478); Nevada (461); Maryland (220); Pennsylvania (209); and Minnesota (183).
The documents released to the Texas Tribune include declined detainer reports from 506 counties around the country. ICE determined that of these, 165 of the counties have known sanctuary policies that limit cooperation with federal officials.
While there is no firm definition of the term, generally, sanctuary policies bar state or local officials, including law enforcement, from asking lawfully stopped or detained individuals about their immigration status, and/or reporting or otherwise cooperating with federal immigration officers with things like detainer requests. Sanctuary policies tend to be varied in nature, and are enacted through local ordinances, executive orders, and even internal law enforcement agency policy, making them difficult to identify and define.
Regardless of how they are enacted or what form they take, the uniting factor is that sanctuary policies place a greater emphasis on the welfare of illegal aliens than those citizens and legal residents in their own communities. Click here to read more about sanctuary cities.