WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017 — In an executive order issued on January 25, President Donald Trump directed the Office of Management and Budget to compile a list of federal funds given to sanctuary jurisdictions. Though it does not specifically list what sources of funding are at risk, the order also directed the U.S. attorney general and the secretary of homeland security to ensure that such jurisdictions be deemed ineligible for most federal grants and further commanded the attorney general to “take appropriate enforcement action” against them.
A new interactive released today by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Center for American Progress (CAP), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), calculates the amount of funding in sanctuary jurisdictions in 32 states that could be targeted by President Trump’s January 25 executive order. Of the states identified in the analysis, those that stand to lose the most are California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, and Massachusetts.
“Local and state law enforcement officials and departments understand that they know what’s best for the safety and security of their communities,” said Philip E. Wolgin, managing director for immigration policy at CAP. “No matter how much legislators or even the president try to scare the public into believing that sanctuary cities harbor criminals, the bottom line remains that counties with sanctuary policies experience less crime and stronger economies.”
All across the nation, more than 600 cities and counties, as well as a handful of states, have adopted policies that limit the extent of assistance they will provide federal immigration enforcement officers. A recent, first-of-its-kind systematic analysis by Tom K. Wong released by CAP and the NILC found that crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared with nonsanctuary counties and that economies are stronger in sanctuary counties.
“By seeking to revoke federal funding for sanctuary jurisdictions, the Trump administration is trying to force through executive action what has already been rejected by Congress,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “Cities and counties should be allowed, encouraged in fact, to focus on policies that strengthen their communities and ensure that victims and witnesses of crimes feel safe speaking to police no matter their immigration status.”
The five key funding sources identified by the authors as having been targeted in the past are:
- The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program
- U.S. Economic Development Administration grants
- The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program
- The Community Development Block Grant program
- The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
That being said, the authors point out that the Trump administration may not have the authority to take away this funding.
“The 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from forcing or coercing states to assist in federal immigration enforcement, and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the threat to withhold funding cannot be so significant that it effectively compels compliance,” said Melissa Keaney, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “Immigrants are and always have been part of the fabric of America, but the Trump administration stubbornly continues to use false premises of criminality to justify actions that are ultimately detrimental to states and to our nation as a whole.”
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Click here to access the interactive.
Click here to read “The Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy” by Tom K. Wong.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
The National Immigration Law Center is exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. Our mission is grounded in the belief that every American—and aspiring American—should have the opportunity to fulfill their full potential regardless of where they were born or how much money they have. Using our deep expertise in a wide range of issues that affect low-income immigrants’ lives, we work with communities in courtrooms and legislatures to help advance policies that create a more just and equitable society for everyone.