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Legal Landscape: Sanctuary Cities

The political battle around “sanctuary cities” is confusing because different levels of legal authority are pulling at each other.

We know President Trump and his executive department have an agenda of strict immigration enforcement. The federal government has been putting its agents on the street in larger numbers, causing the three-letter agency acronym ICE to ripple through immigrant communities recently.

The federal government wants to get local authorities (like city police) watching out for potential immigration violations, for an even stronger force. Congress can use economic pressure to encourage state and local governments to help, but it cannot require local assistance. The President, as commanding as he wants to be, is finding out he can’t either, despite a January executive order attempting to do so.

Local governments are standing strong against federal pressure, citing, for example, that enforcing immigration law will lead to a distrust of the local police by residents.

Some states, like Texas, are choosing sides, and forbidding their local governments to ignore the federal ask.

It is all playing out in a game of tug-of-war, which we bring you in our report this week.

View the report on Sanctuary Cities.

About the Author

Mariam Morshedi

Mariam Morshedi

Mariam Morshedi is the Founder and Executive Director of Subscript Law. Before starting Subscript Law, she practiced civil rights law for AARP Foundation, where she litigated housing, consumer and disability rights issues.

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