Sanctuary City

Living in a Sanctuary City. Is it really safe? What does it mean?
by Jose Enrique Perez

We have been hearing a lot about the word Sanctuary, specially, since Trump got into power. We have been hearing that towns, cities and even states declare themselves Sanctuary. But, what does it mean? Are immigrants living in this so-called “Sanctuary” places really safe? No, they are not.

The Sanctuary Laws or Policies have become part of a broader push by allies of immigrants to counter the expansion of deportation orders and immigration enforcement under the Trump administration.

Under these laws or policies, basically a state, county, local or municipal agencies would not be able to detain immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (hereinafter referred to as ICE) based on hold requests. These same agencies will not call ICE when they are providing services to persons who may be undocumented.

Of course, the fingerprint records for all offenders booked into state prisons and local jails would continue going to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for information purposes. Police and sheriffs generally are also able to share inmates’ release dates and transferring people to immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain violent crimes.

So, what are these violent crimes? They include generally: all serious and violent crimes, registered sex and arson offenses, murder, rape, domestic violence charges and other felonies. Therefore, these laws and policies do not prevent authorities from coordinating with ICE when releasing violent criminals, i.e. the actual “bad hombres” Trump loves to talk about.

Sanctuary policies have strong support among actual law enforcement officials all over the country, the people who work in communities on a daily basis—unlike the Trump administration, who keeps lying saying that these places become more dangerous. The effect is actually the opposite as law enforcement officers have stated. These officers are not “hand tied” by these policies at all, they can continue protecting and serving. Police statistics show a drop in reports of sexual assault and domestic violence as immigrant victims refused to come forward in places that do not have these policies.

So, in essence, the policies protect people in the sense that the agencies cannot call immigration on them; however, immigration officers can still come to arrest individuals in these cities using their own information. They can continue raiding houses, farms, and private properties because these Sanctuary policies do not prevent them from doing so.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about immigration issues. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with an immigration case. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in many cases. If you have any questions or concerns about a case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the September edition.