Sanctuary Cities Continue to Obstruct Enforcement, Threaten Public Safety
By Jessica Vaughan
August 31, 2016
Sanctuary jurisdictions remain a significant public safety problem throughout the country. About 300 jurisdictions have been identified by ICE as having a policy that is non-cooperative and obstructs immigration enforcement (as of September 2015). The number of cities has remained relatively unchanged since our last update in January 2016, as some new sanctuary jurisdictions have been added and few jurisdictions have reversed their sanctuary policies.
Over the 19-month period from January 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015, more than 17,000 detainers were rejected by these jurisdictions. Of these, about 11,800 detainers, or 68 percent, were issued for individuals with a prior criminal history.
According to ICE statistics, since the Obama administration implemented the new Priority Enforcement Program in July 2015 restricting ICE use of detainers, the number of rejected detainers has declined. However, the number of detainers issued by ICE also has declined in 2016, so it is not clear if the new policies are a factor. It is apparent that most of the sanctuary policies remain in place, raising concerns that the Priority Enforcement Program has failed as a response to the sanctuary problem, and has simply resulted in fewer criminal aliens being deported.
The Department of Justice's Inspector General recently found that some of the sanctuary jurisdictions appear to be violating federal law, and may face debarment from certain federal funding or other consequences.
The sanctuary jurisdictions are listed below. These cities, counties, and states have laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that obstruct immigration enforcement and shield criminals from ICE — either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance, denying ICE access to interview incarcerated aliens, or otherwise impeding communication or information exchanges between their personnel and federal immigration officers.
A detainer is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody of criminal aliens for deportation. It is a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien and includes information on the alien's previous criminal history, immigration violations, and potential threat to public safety or security.
The Center’s last map update reflected listings in an ICE report that was originally published by the Texas Tribune, with a few additions and changes resulting from the Center’s research.
California, Connecticut, New Mexico, Colorado
Cities and Counties
California (in addition to all counties)
Contra Costa County
Los Angeles County
Orange County (Sheriff and Probation Department)
San Bernardino County
San Diego County
San Francisco County
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz County
Colorado (in addition to all counties)
Aurora Detention Center
San Miguel County
Connecticut (in addition to state LEAs)
New Haven County
New London County
Palm Beach County
[Editor's Note: According to new information provided to the Center by elected Kenton County Jailer Terry W. Carl, Kenton County complies with all ICE detainers and requests and is fully cooperative with ICE.]
[Editor's Note: According to new information provided to the Center, Lafayette Parish now complies with all ICE detainers and requests and is fully cooperative with ICE.]
Prince George's County
New Mexico (in addition to all counties)
Dona Ana County
Rio Arriba County
San Miguel County
Santa Fe County
New York City
St. Lawrence County
North Dakota State Penitentiary
South West Multiple County Corrections Center
Hood River County
Oregon State Correctional Institution
Springfield Police Department
Rhode Island Department of Corrections
South Correctional Entity (SCORE) Jail, King County
Walla Walla County
Washington State Corrections
The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985.
It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic,
fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.