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The Original list of Sanctuary Cities, USA
Note: The word "Original" is used because the OJJPAC Sanctuary Cities, USA List was to our knowledge, the first non-governmental organization to track sanctuary cities in the United States. This list is the most complete and widely used list of sanctuary cities in the United States. Our sanctuary list has been widely copied since 2007, usually without a link to this page. As a result, most copies of our sanctuary cities list are out-of-date.
OJJPAC began tracking sanctuary cities after it determined that the earlier Congressional Research Service's report on sanctuary cities was outdated and incomplete.
(Scroll down for the most complete list of Sanctuary Cities in the United States of America)
What are Sanctuary Cities?
By Steve Salvi, Founder, OJJPAC.org
In 1996, the 104th U.S. Congress passed Pub. L. 104-208, also known as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA ). The IIRIRA requires local governments to cooperate with Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency. Despite the IIRIRA, hundreds of urban, suburban, and rural communities have ignored the law and adopted so-called "sanctuary policies."
Generally, sanctuary policies instruct local or state government employees not to notify the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens living in or passing through their communities, counties, or states. These policies may also blur the legal distinction between legal resident aliens and illegal aliens, so illegal aliens can have access to the same taxpayer funded programs and benefits available to legal permanent resident aliens.
Sanctuary policies exist in two forms, formal and informal (de facto).
A formal sanctuary policy is a written policy enacted a local government body in the form of a resolution, ordinance, or administrative action--general or special orders, or departmental policies. Formal sanctuary cities are the easiest to identify because these sanctuary policies are in writing and are subject to public records requests by citizens and the press.
Examples of formal sanctuary policies
The Governor of Maine instituted an Executive Order entitled "An Order Concerning Access to State Services By All Entitled Maine Residents," in 2004. The Order limits state employee ability to report the presence of illegal aliens, which some people claim has resulted in many illegal aliens migrating to Maine seeking public benefits and valid Maine drivers licenses (which can be used to drive in other states).
The Republican controlled Utah Legislature passed controversial bills in May 2011, which allow illegal aliens to live and work in Utah. Police also refrain from inquiring about anyone's legal status unless they are stopped or arrested for serious misdemeanors or felonies.
In 2008, Gavin Newsom, who served as mayor of San Francisco at the time, publicized the city's sanctuary status in a press release for San Francisco's Sanctuary City Outreach Program. Newsome later backtracked from his own statements after news reports began exposing how the city's sanctuary policy had protected violent criminal illegal alien gang members. In 2009, Newsome attempted to veto an ordinance passed by San Francisco's even more radical Board of Supervisors which prohibited illegal aliens charged with crimes from being detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Newsome now serves as California's Lt. Governor.
In Katy, Texas, publicity about re-offending illegal aliens also put pressure on that city's administration to rethink it's sanctuary policy--at least for illegal aliens that commit felonies.
Informal sanctuary policies
An informal sanctuary policy is an 'unwritten' policy that exists but is not documented on paper. None-the-less, an informal sanctuary policy is sanctioned by a local government authority and implemented by its public employees (administrative, service, and or safety forces). Informal sanctuary policies are more difficult to document since no public record exists. Informal sanctuary policies however can be evidenced in other ways.
A local government's (e.g., township, village, city, or county) interaction with illegal aliens can evidence an unwritten sanctuary policy. For example, does a police department contact Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE) if they encounter illegal aliens after a traffic stop or criminal arrest? Are illegal aliens simply released after the traffic stop or time spent in the local jail? Are criminal charges dropped to help the illegal alien from being taken into custody by ICE?
Statements and actions by public official can indicate a community's unwritten policy too. Did a mayor of a town hire illegal alien day laborers for a city project? Does a mayor, city administrator, or other city official complain to the press that illegal aliens in their community should not be subject to raids or arrests by ICE? Does a city council adopt a resolution in opposition to the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws? Does the city have a day-labor hiring center for the benefit of non-citizens? These actions and statements are indicators that an informal (unwritten) sanctuary policy may exist in a community.
Why do public officials adopt sanctuary policies for illegal aliens?
One justification of creating sanctuary cities is often under the guise of protecting 'immigrant rights.' But illegal aliens are not immigrants. By definition, an 'immigrant' is a foreign national (alien) who legally emigrated to the U.S. and has applied for and was granted lawful permanent resident status by the U.S. government. When a foreign national is illegally smuggled into the U.S. or violates visa restrictions--he or she is an unauthorized (illegal) alien present in the U.S. in violation of U.S. law, and subject to deportation under Title 8 of the U.S. Code § 1227, Deportable aliens.
Another false argument public officials use to justify sanctuary policies is public safety. To gain support for the adoption of sanctuary policies, some public officials claim that sanctuary policies serve as an effective "community policing" tool. This fallacious argument goes as follows: 'Illegal aliens who are witnesses or victims of crimes, won't report the crimes for fear of arrest and deportation.'
However, illegal aliens cannot possibly be victims of crime in the U.S. (or be witnesses to crimes) if they if are not in the U.S. Nor can illegal aliens continue to victimize thousands of U.S. citizens each year if they are removed from the U.S. and kept out by an aggressive border and interior enforcement policy. Logically, public safety is improved by enforcing immigration laws, including the prosecution of those individuals whom have aided and abetted illegal aliens by adopting illegal sanctuary policies.
Why do public officials pass sanctuary laws or establish unwritten "don't ask--don't tell" policies? There are a variety of reasons. Some politicians attempt to appease politically powerful illegal immigration support groups such as the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDF), and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) that lobby local governments to implement formal or informal sanctuary policies. Other reasons include political contributions and ethnic voter support at election time; complacency, ignorance, or 'don't care' attitudes; and purposeful resistance to existing U.S. immigration law based upon an open-border political philosophy that may serve their economic, political, or ethnocentric interests.
A number of politically appointed big city police chief's often support an administration's sanctuary policy because they share a similar political ideology or just want to keep their jobs. Supporting sanctuary policies can also be the path of least resistance for city officials too. Public officials can avoid the political protests and threats of expensive lawsuits by organizations like the ACLU that routinely follow any attempts by cities who try to stop illegal aliens from settling in their communities. The City of Hazelton, PA was sued by the Obama administration after it's city council passed ordinances intended to counter an illegal alien crime wave in which several people were murdered.
The Obama administration had been quick to file lawsuits against any state or local government attempting to crack down on illegal aliens in its jurisdiction. However, when cities openly violated federal law by aiding illegal aliens, the Obama administration failed to prosecute. The Obama Department of Justice reportedly pressured DHS not to interfere with cities with sanctuary policies. Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson audaciously claimed that the Obama administration was helpless in stopping sanctuary policies. Johnson also opposed any attempts by the U.S. Congress to pass legislation punishing sanctuary cities.
The consequences of sanctuary policies. What you can do.
Military strategists understand the importance of denying an enemy geographic sanctuaries. Sanctuaries allow an enemy time to safely operate and build up defensive and offensive capabilities and hold and take ground. Sanctuaries for illegal aliens likewise provide an important strategic advantage over law enforcement and their ability to perform their law enforcement duties.
Sanctuary policies, official or de facto, result in safe havens (or safer havens) for illegal aliens involved in a variety of criminal enterprises. Sanctuary policies inhibit the ability of law enforcement officers to accurately identify foreign nationals which makes it more difficult to uncover their illegal activities. Illegal aliens face less risk of deportation too if caught by local law enforcement. Sanctuary policies also help shield the operations of Latin American drug cartels, gangs, and terrorist cells--since their activities are less likely to be detected and real identities uncovered by local, state, or federal law enforcement.
Some sanctuary cities (e.g., Chicago and San Francisco) even receive millions of dollars in federal State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) grants to compensate for the cost of jailing illegal alien criminals--even though their city sanctuary policies act to encourage illegal alien settlement.
According to Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen, the Santa Clara County California's sanctuary policy has put its citizens at greater risk. District Attorney Rosen proposed that the County Board of Supervisors vote to ease its law baring local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement. Rosen gave an example of a woman who was raped by an illegal alien who had been shielded from federal detention by the county's policy.
To learn more about the consequences of sanctuary policies and lax immigration law enforcement, visit the Victims of Illegal Aliens Memorial and the Ojjpac homepage.
What you can do to stop sanctuary policies in your city and state.
What can you do to help stop sanctuary policies? Get involved and demand change! Call the President and your members of Congress (U.S. House and U.S. Senate) and demand aggressive border and interior enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. At the state and local level, attend and testify at scheduled public meetings and determine what are your community's policies. If your local government or state has official or unofficial sanctuary policies, demand that the policies be repealed.
A group of citizens in Spokane, Washington, called Respect Washington, started an initiative petition in 2015 (Initiative No. 2015-1) to stop the city's illegal alien sanctuary policy which was adopted by the Spokane City Council as Ordinance Nos. C35164 and C-35167 in October, 2014. The group is also working on a statewide "Respect for Law" initiative petition.
Some state legislatures have either passed or are considering immigration enforcement legislation too, which you can support. For example, in early 2015, State Senator Charles Perry, R-Lubock, Texas, introduced SB 185. SB 185 specifically allowed local law enforcement to question immigration status and share that information with federal law enforcement. It also allowed the Texas Attorney General to investigate citizen complaints about Texas cities that have adopted sanctuary policies.
Some public officials have taken positive steps to combat illegal alien crime.
Some communities have taken positive steps to combat illegal immigration to offset the Obama administration's foot-dragging and purposeful undermining of U.S. immigration law enforcement. For example, after significant numbers of illegal aliens began to settle in Prince William County, VA, its Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on July 10, 2007 cracking down on illegal aliens. The county's law enforcement agents would now check immigration status of people detained for violating local or state laws if an officer had probable cause. Here is a February 25, 2008 police department news release: Police Department Implements New Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy. After the enforcement policy was implemented, many illegal aliens moved out of the county, crime significantly dropped, and citizens experienced an improved quality of life.
Some cities have passed resolutions declaring themselves not to be sanctuary cities. The City of Escondido, CA passed such a resolution in 2007 and defeated an attempt to have it repealed by a Hispanic council member in 2010. In May, 2010, The City of Costa Mesa, CA passed a "Rule of Law City" Resolution supported by Mayor Allan Mansoor. The resolution signaled the city's support for the rule of law and opposition to cities that violate federal law by creating sanctuaries for illegal aliens.
In response to the great number of illegal aliens entering Arizona via Mexico, the Arizona state legislature passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007, which allowed the state to sanction employers of illegal workers. In 2010, the State of Arizona also passed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, better known as SB 1070, which also had the purpose of addressing the problems associated with illegal migration in Arizona. The U.S. Department of Justice sued the State of Arizona over SB 1070 and in, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case and later upheld some parts of the law and struck down others aspects of the law on the basis of the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause.
In May, 2011, Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11), introduced H.R. 2057 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act of 2011, a bill that prohibits sanctuary cities from receiving federal funds until the communities are in compliance with the IIRIR Act of 1996. The bill died in the U.S. House of Representatives. Barletta, the former mayor of Hazleton Pennsylvania gained national attention in 2006 after working to pass two ordinances to combat escalating violence attributed to the growing illegal alien population in Hazleton. Barletta reintroduced The Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act after the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco in July, 2015. Steinle was shot by an illegal alien from Mexico who had sought protection from deportation by San Francisco's sanctuary policy.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the strongest advocates for immigration law enforcement in the U.S. Congress, introduced Senate Bill 1640 (S. 1640) in June, 2015, to address Sanctuary Cities. Senator Sessions' bill gives states and local governments the authority to enforce immigration laws. It is named the Davis-Oliver Act, after two law enforcement officers who where murdered by illegal aliens. Congressman Trey Gowdy introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House (H.R. 1148).
The Missouri legislature acted to rein in sanctuary cities by amending Chapter 67of the Missouri Revised Statutes, enacting Section 67.307. The new Act prohibited municipalities from adopting sanctuary policies under the penalty of becoming ineligible for certain state funding.
The ordinances and state statutes that states and municipalities have passed have been subject to immediate legal challenges by either the Obama administration and or other so-called "immigrant rights groups." Opponents to the laws generally claim that the U.S. Constitution delegates all immigration powers to the federal government.
Some local and state officials frustrated with the federal government, argue that the federal government is failing to enforce federal immigration laws so they are forced to take action. These officials argue that they have the authority to pass and enforce laws that do not conflict with federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that some aspects of these state statutes are constitutional, such as Arizona's SB 1070.
Much litigation still needs to work its way through the courts, which has likely had a chilling effect on attempts by other local and state governments to pass immigration enforcement legislation. However, if the U.S. Supreme Court releases decisions favorable to state and local governments, carefully drafted model immigration enforcement bills may once again be considered in city halls and state legislatures around the US.
Partisanship has also been apparent in the battle over sanctuary policies to this day. For example, in October 2015, the U.S. Senate held a cloture vote on S.2146, which was introduced by Louisiana Senator David Vitter. The senate bill's intent was to penalize cities that provided sanctuary to illegal aliens in defiance of federal law. In a party-line vote, Senate Democrats overwhelmingly supported sanctuary cities by denying the necessary 60 votes needed to end debate, thereby killing the bill.
In July, 2016, partisanship also killed two anti-sanctuary bills in the U.S. Senate. Senate Bill 2193 (a.k.a. Kate's Law) and S. 3100, the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, were both defeated during procedural motion votes by members of the Senate Democratic caucus.
Donald Trump happily surprise many people in the pro-immigration law enforcement camp by making the issue of sanctuary cities, a key hot-button issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump succeeded in riding the country's pro-immigration law enforcement wave all the way to the White House. President Trump's dramatic November 8th election victory stunned open-border advocates who vowed to fight any attempt by President Trump to enforce the rule of law and deport illegal aliens. Trump's vow to crack down on 'sanctuary cities' (or other political jurisdictions) by cutting their federal funding has also set the stage for a battle with many cities run by socialist Democrats who have openly stated that they will continue to defy federal law and aid illegal aliens by refusing to cooperate with federal authorities.
During Trump's first week in office, the President signed several pro-immigration law enforcement Executive Orders. The 'enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States' Executive Order dealt specifically with the problem of Sanctuary Cities.
Does your city, county, or state have a written or unwritten sanctuary policy? First, read the disclaimer and then view the list of U.S. cities below.
Note: This article was first written in 2006 by Steve Salvi, Founder, Ohio Jobs & Justice PAC. Steve's last revision was made on: February 16, 2017.
The Original list of Sanctuary Cities, USA
(The sanctuary list was created in 2006 and last updated on: February 18, 2017)
Notices of understanding and disclaimer:
If you believe a county, city, town, hamlet, etc. should not be listed, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will note the dispute and attempt to verify the jurisdiction's status. Dates that accompany entries represent the point at which a city or other political jurisdiction was added to the sanctuary list. Dates do not necessarily indicate when it became (or allegedly became) a sanctuary. Not all listings have been independently verified by OJJPAC. This is primarily true with entries added prior to May, 2007, when cities were added after being contacted by local sanctuary whistleblowers. Sanctuary listings after May 2007, include one or more sources. Some sanctuary cities may not have yet been identified and therefore not listed below. You are encouraged to perform additional research regarding the status of your community as policies can change. The presence of illegal aliens in a community does not necessarily indicate that a city supports illegal migration or is a "sanctuary city." Cities that have rescind their sanctuary ordinances or resolutions will be in green text. Cities disputing listings will have a notation in red text.
Source abbreviation key:
Dept. of Homeland Security Declined Detainer Outcome Report = DHS DDOR
Sanctuaries listed by state (in alphabetical order)
*(1-18-17 The city of Anchorage has been removed from the Sanctuary Cities list. The city forwarded a resolution stating it will now cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security. The city of Fairbanks had previously been listed due its designation as a sanctuary city by the Congressional Research Service. OJJPAC thanks the City of Anchorage for taking positive steps to clarify its compliance with federal law. Anchorage's enforcement statistics will be monitored for compliance.
Chandler, AZ (Added 5/30/07, Congressional Research Service Report, 2006. The city disputes its listing. )
Mesa, AZ (Added 10-18-09, Sources: Judicial Watch; East Valley Tribune article,1-4-2008)*
Broward Co., FL Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report.
* Correction *3/26/16 DeLeon Springs is being removed because it is a census-designated place (CDP) and has no formal municipal government.
Deltona, FL * Disputed
Hendry Co., FL (Added 8-1-16, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report. Declines but report identifies no policy.)
Herando Co. Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report.
Hillsborough Co., FL Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report.
Jupiter, FL Added 4-13-09. Previously on watch list.
Lake Worth, FL Added 4-13-09. OJJPAC given tour of city by local activists.
Lee Co., FL (Added 8-1-16, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report. Declines but report identifies no policy.)
Ann Arbor, MI (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
Detroit, MI (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
Albuquerque, NM* 6/13/07 Congressional Research Service; 8-14-07 KOB-TV 4 Eyewitness News report. *[5-14-10 Mayor claims city no longer a sanctuary.]
Aztec, NM Added 5-8-10, Identified by CRS in 2006 report to Congress. (The city disputes its listing. However it has not forwarded a copy of its policy.)
Bernalillo Co. NM (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Dona Ana Co., NM (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Lea Co., NM Added 8-1-16, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report. Declines but report identifies no policy.)
Luna Co., NM (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Otero Co., NM (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Rio Ariba Co., NM (Added 6/13/07 Congressional Research Service; Also 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report.)
San Miguel Co., NM (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report. Requires reimbursement of costs by ICE in honoring detainer.)
Santa Fe, NM 6/13/07 Congressional Research Service; 1-26-12 AP story, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss opposes taking drivers licenses away from illegal aliens.
Albany, NY (Added 7-22-09 Source: Council adopts don't ask policy, Times Union report by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist)
Carrboro, NC (Added 11-12-07 Source: Towns differ on illegal aliens by Patrick Winn, The News & Observer)
Chapel Hill, NC (Added 11-12-07 Source: Towns differ on illegal aliens by Patrick Winn, The News & Observer)
State of North Dakota (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report. ND State Penitentiary will not honor ICE detainers)
Cincinnati, OH (Added 2-2-17) Source: Mayor Mark Mallory supports immigration reform [amnesty], By Amanda Lee Myers, San Francisco Chronicle, 5-30-13)
Cleveland, OH (Added 11-30-16 Source: WKYC-TV-3, Tom Meyer interview,11-30-16; Cleveland passed a Sanctuary Resolution in 1987 (No. 777-87) Cleveland Scene, 2-6-17)
Columbus, OH Added 7/5/07 Source: 5/10/07 Columbus Dispatch article stating illegal aliens in misdemeanor cases are not reported to ICE) See more below.
*Dayton, OH Added 1-11-10 Source: Dayton Daily News story by Lucas Sullivan. Police chief prohibits officers from asking about immigration status. * 2-16-17, The status of Dayton is being reviewed for removal from the sanctuary list after the Police Chief supposedly rescinded his "sanctuary" order, 2-2017.
Lake County, OH Added 7-23-15 Source: Lake County accepts fraudulent Mexican Matricula Counsular ID cards used by illegal aliens.
Lima, OH Added 10-28-08 Source: City administration opposes County Sheriff's efforts to remove illegal aliens.
Lorain, OH Added 4-21-14 Source: Lorain Police Chief Celestino Rivera's written policy of non-cooperation with ICE. See addl. notes below.
Lucas County, OH Added 7-23-15 Source: Lucas County accepts fraudulent Mexican Matricula Counsular ID cards used by illegal aliens.
Oberlin, OH Added 1-25-09. Source: City Resolution adopted January 20, 2009.
Painesville, OH Added 7-19-07 Source: In 2006, the city of Painesville in an official letter called illegal aliens (they used the word "undocumented" a valuable asset to the city and opposed immigration law enforcement legislation. I have a copy of that letter in my file. Although the city of Painesville passed a Resolution in support of immigration law enforcement as a result of public pressure, the city remains in opposition to aggressive immigration law enforcement and the deportation of the illegal alien population in the community. We will be looking into the past actions of the Painesville Municipal Court too, regarding its role in preventing the deportation of deportable aliens.
Oklahoma City (de facto)
Allentown, PA (Rescinded) 7-23-12 Note: Allentown city council passed a sanctuary resolution in 1986 but voted 4-3 to rescind it in 1991.
Chester Co., PA (Added 8-2-16, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Delaware Co., PA (Added 8-2-16, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Lehigh Co., PA (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Montgomery, PA (Added 8-2-16, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Philadelphia, PA* (7-15-10 Source: Policy Concerning Access of Immigrants to City Services ; 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Philadelphia Co., PA (Added 8-2-16, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Pittsburgh, PA (Added 5-29-14 Source: Pittsburg Post Gazette: Pittsburg launches effort to woo more immigrants, 5-29-14)
State of Rhode Island (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report. Dept. of Corrections won't honor detainers without a warrant.)
Providence (Added 5-17-11 Source: Providence wants to opt out of 'Secure Communities' database, by Gregory Smith, Providence Journal, 2-23-11).
Alexandria, VA* (Added 10-6-08. Source: City Resolution No. 2246 adopted 10-9-07)
Arlington, VA (Added 11-3-15. Source: Arlington, VA opts out of federal immigration program, 9-28-2010; 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Madison, WI (Congressional Research Service) Update: In June, 2010, the city council passed a resolution reaffirming its policy.
Milwaukee Co., WI (Added 10-13-15, Source: 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report citing Resolution 12-135; Supervisors pass sanctuary resolution, Wrn.com, 2-2017)
Milwaukee., WI (Added 6-10-12 Source article: County Board Resolution on Immigration on target, Opinion, Journal Sentinel News., 6-9-12)
(The Washington D. C. city council has voted to prohibit its police department from participating in the Secure Communities program in July, 2010 according to an AP story by Ivan Moreno dated 7-26-10; 10-19-11 D.C. Examiner story which states that Mayor Vincent Gray signed an order prohibiting the city's police dept. from inquiring about a person's immigration status. Also included in the 10-8-14 DHS DDO Report)
Cities under review
Diamond Bar, CA (6/26/07 Disputed by city. Currently being researched to verify.)
Des Moines, IA (Added 11-28-07 Source: Proposal seeks banning immigration raids in D.M., by Nigel Duara, Des Moines-Register)
Bridgeton, NJ (Added 6-3-07) [7-27-07 Disputed by a reputed farm worker advocate, see note below.]
Peekskill, NY [Disputed, being researched]
San Antonio, TX [Note: The Sanctuary status of San Antonio is disputed, being researched.]
Watch List Cities Note: This is a new list started 8-14-07 and was updated on 1-31-2017.
Sanctuary Cities, USA: Additional Notes
The Municipality of Anchorage sent OJJPAC a letter disputing the city's listing postmarked July 29, 2010. It claims that the Congressional Research Service's listing of the city as a "sanctuary" was based on a Resolution adopted by its Assembly (AR 2003-223) in 2003. The Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler says that that Resolution was rescinded on December 18, 2007.
Mesa Arizona has been added as a sanctuary city list because of its reported "don't ask don't tell policy" and criticism by the local sheriff that the city is not enforcing the law. The sheriff has arrested illegal aliens working in city buildings (as contract workers for a private cleaning company), reportedly after the city police department refused to investigate complaints of illegal hires by a whistleblower.
Note: The newspaper incorrectly refers to illegal aliens as "illegal immigrants." Aliens who illegally reside in the U.S. are not "immigrants," a term that should only refer to aliens who legally "emigrated" to the United States.
Philadelphia's Mayor signed an Executive Order in November 2009 that provided additional protections to illegal aliens in the city. However, the City of Philadelphia does have an existing Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS) agreement with ICE. Mayor Nutter objects to the PARS computer technology agreement which is now up for renewal. The Mayor apparently believes that the access of data by ICE will result in increased immigration violation investigations and deportations. Here is an article by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Tucson Arizona has been added to the sanctuary city list because the Tucson police have instituted a new policy which prevents their officers from calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement to schools and churches.
Tulsa city councilor Jim Mautino was quoted in a Tulsa World article by P.J. Lassek, that he believes Tulsa is a sanctuary city and that the Police don't verify legal presence during traffic stops. Mautino wants to crack down on illegal aliens and introduce an ordinance mandating the use of E-Verify because the resolution that was passed cannot be enforced.
State of Oregon
According to a CRS report (October, 2005), Oregon passed a law in 1987 that prohibits local and state law enforcement from using state resources for locating and capturing illegal aliens. Law enforcement was permitted [but not required] to "exchange information" with federal immigration agents if an illegal alien was arrested for a crime.
San Bernardino, CA.
San Bernardino was added to the list on June 6th of 2007 as a result of a readers submission. On September 5th 2008, the city administration contacted me to dispute its listing. OJJPAC has asked the city's law department to forward copies of the city's policies regarding its processes when illegal aliens are encountered in its city.
Bridgeton, NJ 7-27-07 Disputed by a reputed farm worker advocate who sent me this email:
"I just wanted to point out an inaccuracy on your website's listing of sanctuary cities. You have Bridgeton, NJ listed as a sanctuary city, and indeed it is most definitely not. I work with CATA - The Farm workers' Support committee (www.cata-farmworkers.org) and we have an organized group of membership in this town. One of our goals is working towards making Bridgeton an sanctuary city, but the local government is quite unfriendly towards the immigrant population, and the mayor has even hinted at wanting to implement a Hazleton type of ordinance (luckily, given yesterday's legal decision, that won't be happening)."
The Columbus Dispatch [Ohio] wrote: "The police didn't contact immigration authorities concerning those who were determined to be undocumented, Booth said. Authorities say that's typical when it comes to misdemeanor charges."
2-20-14 Mayor Michael Coleman issues a travel ban for city employees because the State of Arizona passed immigration law enforcement bill SB 1070. 12-7-15 City support for Obama's unconstitutional DAPA and DACA exec. orders, Utahpolicy.com
"Thanks to Cel (Celestino Rivera, Lorain's Police Chief), we are less worried" [about the US Border Patrol]said one interviewee who has a family member who is deportable. Rivera does not report illegal aliens to immigration authorities. Source: Ohio, the Other Border, By Maribel Hastings, Senior Adviser, America's voice, 4-7-14.
Cleveland Scene (7-18-07) quotes the Painesville Police Chief Gary Smith:
***He [Police Chief Gary Smith] has no qualms about laying out his indifference in plain English: "We don't care what your [immigration] status is." ***
Oklahoma City, OK
One reader wrote about Oklahoma City:
State of Maine
Governor John E. Baldacci issued executive order 13 FY 04/05 which was issued on April 9, 2004. The order is entitled “An Order Concerning Access to State Services by All Entitled Maine Residents.” The order prohibits state workers from inquiring about the immigration status of anyone applying for services.
Resolution No. 2246, adopted October 9, 2007 states in part: "...the City and its various agencies will neither make inquirers about nor report on the citizenship of those who seek the protection of its laws or the use of its services." Evidently in Alexandria, illegal alien are safe from Immigration and Customs Enforcement until they commit a "serious" crime. So what crimes can illegals commit with impunity from the federal government? Theft? Rape? Drug dealing? Gang activity? OJJPAC's belief is that the City's Resolution conflict's with its responsibility under federal law.
State of Vermont
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell reportedly has asked police in Vermont to adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" approach to immigration status under the guise of "Bias-Free Policing." Police departments in Vermont will get a copy of the request but are not required to adopt the attorney general's policy.
Research Resources (incomplete listing)
Archived Sanctuary News Stories
U.S. Congressman Barletta to introduce bill to address illegal alien sanctuary cities in U.S.
Left to right: Former Hazelton, PA Mayor and now Congressman Louis J. Barletta and Steve Salvi, Founder of Ohio Jobs & Justice PAC. (OJJPAC file photo)
Congressman Louis J. Barletta has introduced legislation to punish local governments that have instituted so-called illegal alien sanctuary policies.
Congressman Barletta is the former mayor of Hazleton, PA, where he gained
his first-hand knowledge of the numerous problems that
illegal migration brings to local communities.
While Barletta welcomes legal immigrants, as mayor of Hazelton, he witnessed the problems local communities face when illegal aliens settle in a community, including the strain on community social services, the displacement of American workers, and increased crime.
San Francisco ignoring ICE detainers; won't turn over illegal aliens
San Francisco's revised and extreme Sanctuary policy would shield Mexican illegal alien accused of double homicide
Mayor comes to his senses and has administration notify ICE about alleged killer
Oberlin City Council Passes Illegal Alien Sanctuary Resolution
Oberlin, OH -- The Oberlin city council met last Tuesday to vote on the third reading of the amended version of its illegal alien "don't ask don't tell" sanctuary resolution. The controversial resolution which was first discussed by city council in December, was in response to last year's Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on a local Mexican restaurant in which several illegal alien fugitives were captured.
Despite concerns that the resolution was unconstitutional, violated the civil rights of the city's employees, and would provide a safe haven for criminal aliens, the resolution easily passed in a 6-1 vote. The majority of council sided with the proponents of the proposal who argued that the immigration system is broken and that the sanctuary resolution is necessary for good for the community. Opponents argued that the system would work if existing laws were enforced, and the city of Oberlin has no right to violate federal law nor the rights of all Ohioans based on its perceived notion of an unjust law.
Over the past three city council meeting, supporters and opponents of the measure continued to trade charges and submit conflicting testimony. Now that the resolution has passed, opponents which include Ohio Jobs & Justice PAC, are considering challenging the city's action in court on the grounds that the resolution may violate federal law. The mayor of nearby Kipton, Ohio, is also planning additional action. The mayor is considering the adoption of anti-sanctuary legislation in Kipton and encourage other public officials to adopt similar anti-sanctuary resolutions in their communities. Members of the Rally Team, an anti-illegal immigration group in Painesville, will meet in February to discuss its response. Several of its members traveled to Oberlin each week to testify to its opposition to the resolution.
"The City of Oberlin has foolishly chosen arbitrary governance over the rule of law. It may find it necessary to defend itself in two courts -- a court of law and of public opinion."
- Steve Salvi, OJJPAC.org
Oberlin City Council seemingly ignores the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights of its City employees -- to provide a safe haven for illegal aliens
Oberlin, OH--The Oberlin City council voted 6-1 in favor of passage a city Resolution that would codify Oberlin's now de facto sanctuary policy, in direct conflict with federal law. To the City Council's credit, members listened to an equal number of supporters and opponents to the Resolution. Despite significant testimony against the measure from local residents, the City's chief of police, OJJPAC, and members of the Grassroots Rally Team, the council voted to approve the measure on its 1st reading. 1-20-09 Update: The resolution passed on its final reading. See updated story.
Oberlin City Council members
Steve Salvi, OJJPAC founder & members of the Grass Roots Rally Team and concerned citizens
The Shaw family promoting Jamal's Law, which would have changed law enforcement policy in Los Angeles County.
Shaw family files wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County and Sheriff because of sanctuary policy
The parents of 17-year-old murder victim Jamel Shaw Jr. have filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that it was the county's illegal alien sanctuary policy which caused their son's murder in March, 2008.
The Shaw's claim that the county's sanctuary policy resulted in the sheriff's office negligently releasing Pedro Espinoza, a reported gang member and illegal alien one day before Espinoza allegedly shot Shaw, a Los Angeles High School student and football player. Read story here.
Jamal Shaw Jr.'s aunt meets with OJJPAC founder Steve Salvi to discuss her nephew's murder and Special Order 40.
From 9/11 Commission hearings:
COMMISSIONER JOHN LEHMAN: "Were you aware that it was the US government established policy not to question or oppose the sanctuary policies of New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, San Diego for political reasons, which policy in those cities prohibited the local police from cooperating at all with federal immigration authorities?"
CONDOLEEZA RICE: "I do not believe I was aware of that."
"Were you aware that it was the US government established policy not to question or oppose the sanctuary policies of New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, San Diego for political reasons, which policy in those cities prohibited the local police from cooperating at all with federal immigration authorities?"
CONDOLEEZA RICE: "I do not believe I was aware of that."
Can you say malfeasance? I think you can in Spring Valley, NY
Don't know what malfeasance in public office is? Read this article about a village mayor in Spring Valley, NY who appears to have ordered village employees to hire illegal aliens--which is contrary to federal law. Story here.