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How Sanctuary Cities Work

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Statue of Liberty, New York © wyliemcintyre

April 27, 2017 23:55 EDT

Some view sanctuary cities as places for harboring fugitives, while others view them as safe havens. But a more accurate description may be that they are cities trying to regain trust between law enforcement and the people.

The Trump administration has been battling against sanctuary cities by threatening to withhold federal grant money from jurisdictions that refuse to comply with new immigration laws.

Sanctuary cities have become yet another topic torn between the two political extremities — the right tending to believe this is a revolt against federal law and the left assuming that they provide a place of refuge for marginalized groups. These are both slightly distorted views and here’s why.

Sanctuary cities are places that limit cooperation with immigration enforcement, but this varies place to place. The process of arrest is the same everywhere in the United States, but the local law enforcement has the choice of further detainment once an undocumented immigrant is reported. If the local police decide to honor the federal request and detain the person, immigrants will no longer feel safe to call enforcement when a crime occurs, making them an easy target for criminals and creating an easy avenue for crimes to be committed.

But even if the officer releases the person, there is no guarantee that the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will not take action. The deportation process cannot be fully stopped by local law enforcement, but it has the ability to determine the extent of cooperation with the system.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: wyliemcintyre

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