A handful of localities have backed off their status as sanctuary cities following community outrage and warnings by federal officials that they could lose funding for impeding the enforcement of federal law. The Trump administration put sanctuary cities on notice Friday that their unlawful policies could be putting their federal funding in jeopardy.
Sanctuary policies prohibit or restrict law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, allowing criminal aliens to live and work freely in communities and are often unlawful. Federal law expressly prohibits state or local governments from putting in place any law, rule, or policy that limits its employees’ ability to communicate immigration status information with federal immigration officials. Federal law also protects public employee’s ability to maintain immigration status information or exchange it with any other state or local government entity.
Most recently, the City Council of Lansing, Michigan, rescinded its sanctuary resolution just days after passing it, following strong opposition by the residents and local businesses. The Council initially bowed to the illegal alien lobby and voted unanimously to declare itself a “sanctuary city.” The declaration was deleted by the Council just says later with a 5-2 vote.
Additionally, the Phoenix, Arizona, City Council rejected a petition last Wednesday, 7-2, to make Phoenix a sanctuary city. Councilmembers opposed the petition to avoid violating both federal and Arizona state law and expressed concerns regarding public safety and crime increase. Mayor Greg Stanton was also among enforcement supporters that spoke against the petition, despite protests from illegal alien residents. “We must respect the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision and the rule of law — and I will not ask Phoenix police officers to knowingly violate the law,” Stanton said.
Miami-Dade County was one of the first jurisdictions to drop its sanctuary policy following warnings of enforcement by the federal government. The Miami-Dade County Commission also voted 9-3 to reject its sanctuary policy shortly after the Trump Administration warned it would cut funding from sanctuary cities that unlawfully impede federal law enforcement’s efforts. Miami-Dade County currently receives $355 million a year in federal funding.
In February, Dayton, Ohio’s police department followed suit and rescinded its sanctuary policy shortly after President Trump signed an executive order which gave the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security authority to cut funding from sanctuary cities. Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl commented that the change was made to ensure that the department was acting in accordance to federal law.
A handful of bills in state legislatures that would have created sanctuary states around the country have also failed in recent weeks. Most recently, legislation in both Colorado and Rhode Island have been deferred indefinitely by the committees assigned to consider them.