Sanctuary Cities and Immigration Law: What You Need To Know

Sanctuary cities

Immigration has been a huge topic of conversation and controversy for the last several weeks. Both have been catapulted after President Trump signed his executive order banning refugees from 7 nations and stopping the in-flow of all refugees for four months.

President Trump has long promised to stop the flow of all illegal immigrants into this country. The promise included a large wall across on the border of the United States and Mexico.

Sanctuary Cities

In addition, President Trump has also issued an order regarding sanctuary cities. It states that sanctuary jurisdictions across the U.S. are willfully violating federal law, attempting to shield undocumented immigrants from removal from the country and causing “immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.”

Additionally, the report says any jurisdiction that doesn’t comply with federal law will not receive federal funds, except as mandated in the law.

How do sanctuary cities work?

First of all, the deportation process works like this:

  • Police make an arrest, unrelated to immigration status.
  • He or she is booked into the county jail, run by the county sheriff’s office
  • Fingerprints are taken and sent to the FBI, which sends the information to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • If ICE finds that the inmate is an unlawful immigrant, it sends a detainer request to hold the inmate for an extra 48 hours in order to begin deportation procedures.

The county could say yes:

  • If the county typically complies, the inmate would be held for the extra time, the Department of Justice would fund the extra jail time, and the inmate would be transported to a federal prison, stay in county jail and possibly eventually deported.

The county could also say no:

  • If the county has a policy of denying detainment requests, the inmate would be free to go if:
    • He or she is convicted but doesn’t require jail time
    • The charges are dropped
    • Bail is met

Counties that typically decline requests usually complies if the inmate:

  • Has prior felony convictions
  • Is a gang member
  • Is on a terrorist watch list

What Could Change

What President Trump’s executive order could change is how quickly the ICE deportation proceedings would begin. However, it might mean deportation would begin before criminal proceedings have ended.

It could also mean undocumented immigrants could face deportation after becoming the victim of a crime, or after being involved in various civil matters. For example, jaywalking or traffic tickets if the counties they live in decide to increase vigilance.

Detroit has in place a city ordinance which prohibits its people from being unfairly profiled based on their nationality. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s Chief of Staff Alexis Wiley issued a press statement saying Detroit is not a sanctuary city and that it will comply with executive orders.

Meanwhile, Ann Arbor continues to have conversations about what its city ordinances could mean for the future of its federal funding.

Take Away

What do you think about sanctuary cities? Should counties across the country continue to make it illegal for law enforcement to ask about immigration status?