Sanctuary City Policy Brief

Sanctuary Jurisdictions, commonly referred to as “Sanctuary Cities,” in the United States are cities, counties, or states that implement at least one policy that limits local or state law enforcement resources towards federal organizations in solving immigration issues. In this policy brief, we will summarize the “Proposal for Asylum Seeking and Immigration Relocation Plan.”


The research objective of this proposal is to come up with a comprehensive asylum seeking and relocation plan for immigrants in conjunction with sanctuary jurisdictions. In this proposal, we are advocating for a cross values policy that aims to compromises current conservative and liberal policies towards sanctuary jurisdictions. To put it briefly, this proposal aims to provide housing and working visa for designated sanctuary jurisdictions in the United States contingent on qualification being met through United States Customs and Border Protection.  Why is this important? The function of jurisdictions cities is important not only to undocumented immigrants, but to the community in question as well.

For undocumented immigrants, the urgency for a sanctuary city proposal is to provide protection from federal and local law enforcements from inquiring legal status information that could lead to detainment. In non-sanctuary jurisdictions, inquires about legal status can happen at traffic stops, in public, and at schools. For the community, the urgency for a sanctuary jurisdictions proposal is to allow local law enforcement to focus on sustaining public safety. Local law enforcement should not have to blur responsibilities with federal law enforcements when their focus should be on the community.

We hope our findings and conclusions will serve the reader well on their decision to go forward with our proposal.

 Background Facts:

  • In the United States, there are currently around 300 sanctuary jurisdictions. 
  • Sanctuary Jurisdictions, the topic as we know today, began a response to the refugee crisis, which emerged from civil wars in Central America at the time. They originated from faith based organizations that saw cities as a space of sanctuary for these refugees (Lippert & Rahaag, 2013, pg.225). Memo 1
  • San Francisco first declared itself a sanctuary jurisdiction in 1989 when it declared a local ordinance that banned the use of city resources to aid ICE “in enforcing federal immigration laws ‘unless such assistance is required by federal or state law’ (Rizzo, 2018).” Memo 2
  • California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington are states issued as sanctuary juristictions.


  • A study done in 2019 by Tom K. Wong PhD et. Al saw that 44.6 percent trust “a great deal” or “a lot” that police officers and sheriffs would keep their families safe if local law enforcement keeps from working with ICE. They are 34.8 percent less likely to trust law enforcement if they are working with ice.
  • “There are, on average, 35.5 fewer crimes committed per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties (Wong, 2017).”
  • Sanctuary cities’ median household income is $4,353 higher than nonsanctuary cities. 
  • Public assistance is also lower in sanctuary cities than it is nonsanctuary cities. Those who receive SNAP benefits are 2.6 percent lower than nonsanctuary cities.
  •  “About 6.1% of applicants for the H-1B visa for high-skilled immigrants were rejected in 2016, for example, compared with 15.1% in 2019 (Hackman, 2020).”

Public Opinion Statistics:

  • 41 percent said there was no reason to have sanctuary cities, while 50 percent believed they are needed (Ye Hee Lee, 2017)
  • When asked whether they support or oppose the federal government cutting funds toward sanctuary cities, 42 percent supported and 53 percent opposed (Ye Hee Lee, 2017)
  • According to a Fox News poll cited in the same article, 41 percent supported and 53 percent opposed taking federal funds from sanctuary cities (Ye Hee Lee, 2017).
  • According to the think tank, Third Way, democrats rate ICE unfavorably by 40 points, while independents rate them favorably by 16 points, and republicans by 62 (Kasai, 2020)


We cross examined two options, or alternatives, for sanctuary cities that complement each other. There should be an easier pathway to citizenship, as stated on Joe Biden’s website, but there is an option for the Republicans and Democrats to meet in the middle and provide a temporary location for migrants and asylum seekers in the form of Stephen Miller’s plan i.e. to release immigrants into sanctuary cities. Here is a lay out of plans that will be implemented to aid this policy solution:


  1. 300 state and local governments with sanctuary programs (Dalmia, 2019) will work with the federal governments in absorbing incoming immigrants from various parts of Central America. Families will NOT be separated. We will reject the false choice between employment-based and family-based immigration policies (The Biden Plan for Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants).
  2. According to the current White House budget, the Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) has a federal funding of 8.3 billion dollars (Strong Border Security). In 2025, that budget will be cut in half and 4.4 billion of those funds will be used to assist sanctuary cities in labor, housing, and transportation for asylum seekers and migrants.
  3. The visa system will be expanded. A wage based allocation will be established so that migrants will not be left vulnerable to those looking to exploit them (The Biden Plan for Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants).
  4. High-skilled visas expanded, migrants will be allocated to roles based on their skills, no matter how entry or limited their skills might be. Students will be granted student visas and scholarships towards designated sanctuary jurisdiction universities. In addition, migrants will have the ability to apply for relocation to other jurisdictions for work
  5. Migrants and asylum seekers will be allowed to apply for citizenship as determined by recommendations from employers and a certificate signed by a state official. When interacting with The United States Customs and Border Agency, they will be able to go through the application and be vetted with 2 months from application.


Dalmia, Shikha. “Sanctuary Cities Should Hope That Stephen Miller Makes Good on His Threats.” Reason, April 22, 2019.

“The Biden Plan for Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants.” Joe Biden for President: Official Campaign Website, August 5, 2020.

 “The Birth of a Sanctuary-City: a History of Governmental Sanctuary in San Francisco.” In Sanctuary Practices in International Perspectives, 223–236. Routledge, 201

Eshelman K. What is a sanctuary city? CE Think Tank Newswire. Apr 16 2020. Available from:

Hackman, Michelle. “Where Trump and Biden Stand on Immigration, Border Wall and ICE.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, September 17, 2020.

“Immigration 101: What Is a Sanctuary City?,” October 9, 2019. Available from:

Kasaid, Nathan. “How to Navigate the Sanctuary Cities Debate – Third Way.” Third Way, April 20, 2020.

Martínez, DE, Martínez‐Schuldt, RD, Cantor, G. Providing Sanctuary or Fostering Crime? A Review of the Research on “Sanctuary Cities” and Crime. Sociology Compass. 2018;

Salvador Rizzo. (2018). Fact-checking Trump’s weekly address on immigrants, crime and sanctuary cities: Trump devoted his weekly address to sanctuary cities and crime — and we found a lot to fact-check. In Washington Post – Blogs. WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post.

Wong, Tom K. “The Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy,” January 26, 2017.

Wong, T., Kang, S., Valdivia, C., Espino, J., Gonzalez, M., & Peralta, E. (2020). How Interior Immigration Enforcement Affects Trust in Law Enforcement. Perspectives on Politics, 1-14. doi:10.1017/S1537592719003943

Ye Hee Lee, Michelle. “Analysis | Do 80 Percent of Americans Oppose Sanctuary Cities?” The Washington Post. WP Company, August 15, 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: