Skip to main content
Immigration protest in NYC
Unpacked

Sanctuary cities and Trump’s executive order

Alan Berube
Editor's Note:

In Unpacked, Brookings experts provide analysis of Trump administration policies and news.

THE ISSUE: President Trump recently issued an executive order to withhold federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, which are local jurisdictions that attempt to limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

President Trump campaigned on cracking down on illegal immigration, so his [sanctuary city executive order] was a very explicit way for him to suggest that he was doing that.

THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Author

  • The term sanctuary city generally refers to local jurisdictions that in some way limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, typically by refusing to honor detention requests from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE).
  • There are dozens of publicly declared sanctuary cities in the U.S. and about 600 counties that have some degree of sanctuary status.
  • In January 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that would withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities.
  • President Trump campaigned on cracking down on illegal immigration, so this was a very explicit way for him to suggest that he was doing that.
  • A few days after the executive order was issued, the city of San Francisco sued the Trump administration, arguing that the order represented constitutional overreach, and it’s likely that other cities will follow suit.
  • Research shows that sanctuary cities are on average safer and have lower crime rates than the national average.
  • The new executive order could actually make cities less safe by deterring immigrant communities from coming forward to report criminal activity for fear of deportation.
  • Many sanctuary cities receive significant funding in grants from the federal government, which are used for a wide range of purposes including transportation and infrastructure, which is something the Trump administration has promised to spend more on.
  • This represents something of a contradiction on the part of the Trump administration: on one hand Trump has promised to invest in places to create new jobs, but on the other hand he is threatening to hold back that same money to enforce immigration policy.

THE SOURCE:

These communities have a lot at stake in Trump’s executive order on immigration

More

Get daily updates from Brookings