Sanctuary Cities Prohibit Federal Government From Forcing States And Cities To Use Local Resources To Capture And Detain Immigrants

 In Executive Orders, Government Regulations, Immigration   Last Updated: August 2, 2017

Federal officials must rely on local police to help enforce federal immigration laws, but the law doesn’t require local authorities to detain illegal immigrants just because their federal counterparts make a request. In fact, federal courts across the country have found complying with the requests is voluntary.

Each person arrested by local law enforcement is fingerprinted, and information about the arrestee is shared with federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the primary federal agency for managing immigration laws.  If ICE identifies an undocumented immigrant, it submits a request to detain that person for an additional period of time (at the expense of local law enforcement) until ICE can then take custody of that person.  

Although there is no standard legal definition of sanctuary city, these types of policies typically make it clear they will not comply with these or other requests related to using local law enforcement to capture and detain immigrants of any status.  

Many cities across the country have enacted some sort of sanctuary city policy.

A new anti-sanctuary city law in Texas “threatens police chiefs and elected officials with jail time and removal from office if they don’t comply with federal immigration requests to detain immigrants in the country illegally.  The four largest cities in Texas — San Antonio, Austin, Houston and Dallas— are suing to block the measure.”

Lansing, MI had a sanctuary city policy but “city council members voted 5-2 to rescind the policy because business owners worried the term “sanctuary” would draw unwelcome attention to the city.”



Cameron, Darla. “How Sanctuary Cities Work, and How Trump’s Executive Order Might Affect Them.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
Kopan, Tal. “What Are Sanctuary Cities, and Can They Be Defunded?CNN. Cable News Network, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
Griffith, Bryan, and Jessica Vaughan. “Map: Sanctuary Cities, Counties, and States.” Center for Immigration Studies. N.p., 07 July 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.
Weber, Paul. “No Immediate Ruling on Fate of Texas’ ‘sanctuary Cities’ Law.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 26 June 2017. Web. 09 July 2017.

Gonzales, Sara. “One Michigan City Is Rescinding Its ‘sanctuary City’ Policy – Here’s Why.TheBlaze. TheBlaze, 13 Apr. 2017. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

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