Do sanctuary cities deserve federal funding? | The Tylt
Do sanctuary cities deserve federal funding?
Trump says sanctuary cities are making America unsafe, but data shows a different reality. A study found sanctuary cities are actually less violent and more productive than non-sanctuary cities.
He found 35.5 fewer violent and property crimes per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties versus non-sanctuary ones—“a result that is highly statistically significant.” Counties in large metros reported an even more dramatically difference, with 65.4 fewer crimes per 10,000 people. Sanctuary counties also registered better economic conditions. On average, they had higher median incomes (by about $4,353), lower poverty
(by 2.3 percent), and slightly lower unemployment rates (1.1 percent). These positive effects were exaggerated in the small counties, where the contributions of each individual immigrant were likely to have a larger impact.
Other studies back up this point and show sanctuary policies have no effect on safety. However, politicizing immigration policy erodes public trust and makes undocumented immigrants less likely to work with law enforcement when safety is at stake.
Wong’s analysis is not the first to contradict this administration’s narrative on sanctuary cities. A previous study examined crime rates over time in these areas. Some, like San Francisco, experienced a rise in crime after the fact; others, like Baltimore, saw the opposite effect. On average, the researchers observed no “statistically significant effect” on crime after these cities enacted sanctuary-type policies.
Critics of sanctuary cities say local governments cannot pick and choose which laws they decide to adhere to without consequences. Federal law mandates undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes should be removed from the United States. Refusing to follow that mandate makes the country unsafe. The federal government is able to use its funding to create incentives for states to comply with the law. It's a matter of rules and safety.
Curbing the ill effects of sanctuary cities is one central area in which Culberson chose to leverage the power of the purse to get results, and he is the first appropriations subcommittee chairman to have such success with this method. Luckily for Culberson, there was already a law on the books for him to work with. In 1996, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, including section 8 U.S.C. 1373, which provided that no state or local entity can in any way restrict its law-enforcement officials from communicating with federal immigration authorities regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status.
Regardless of whether sanctuary cities are dangerous, federal courts have ruled the Trump administration can't withhold funds that have been approved by Congress. The August 1 ruling upholds most of a November 2017 decision by District Judge William H. Orrick. The Washington Post reports in Orrick's original ruling, he wrote:
“The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Executive Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds. Further, the Tenth Amendment requires that conditions on federal funds be unambiguous and timely made; that they bear some relation to the funds at issue; and that they not be unduly coercive,” the judge wrote. “Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves.”
The judge took into account previous statements from the president in which he had indicated that withholding federal funds was meant to deter cities from taking on sanctuary status.
"The President has called it ‘a weapon’ to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary reiterated that the President intends to ensure that ‘counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cities don’t get federal government funding in compliance with the executive order.’”
The Justice Department maintains the Trump administration is within its rights to withhold federal funds. CNN reports that in response to a similar ruling by a judge in Chicago in July, Justice Department spokeman Devin O'Malley said:
"The Justice Department continues to maintain that we exercised our authority, given by Congress, to attach conditions -- designed to keep Americans safe -- to public safety grants, and we will continue to fight to carry out the Department's commitment to the rule of law, protecting public safety, and keeping criminal aliens off the streets," O'Malley said.