Sanctuary Cities may soon be a thing of the past across the United States if this trend continues. The trend in states banning the practice of non-reporting and non enforcement of immigration law has exploded since 2015. Then only 4 states banned the practice.
At least 33 states considered laws this year to crack down on “sanctuary cities” — nearly double the number from 2016 — following President Trump’s moves against communities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi and Texas already passed laws this year that punish local governments and public universities that enact policies to protect undocumented immigrants, and other states are trying to follow suit.
Last year 18 states considered such laws, compared with only four in 2015, according to he National Conference of State Legislatures.
The rush comes after Trump’s repeated warnings on the campaign trail about the dangers caused by “sanctuary cities” and his actions since taking office to cut off their federal funding.
“There’s more sanctuary activity at the state and local level because of the president’s marshaling confidence,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which has helped state lawmakers craft their bills. “This is what the president’s executive order on sanctuary jurisdictions was meant to hammer home.”
“Sanctuary city” is not a legal term, but a general description of more than 300 state and local jurisdictions that have some kind of policy that limits their cooperation with federal immigration efforts. Critics say those policies allow dangerous and violent undocumented immigrants to roam free, threatening the safety of their communities. Supporters say the policies are a legal and moral counter to demands from the Trump administration for local officials to conduct immigration enforcement, a federal responsibility.
The Department of Homeland Security has issued several reports to publicly shame sanctuary cities, and the Justice Department has sent letters to at least nine localities threatening to withhold federal grants if they do not fully comply with federal immigration efforts. Homeland Security suspended its reports because they were filled with errors, and a federal court heavily restricted Justice’s funding threats, but state efforts continue.