Sanctuary Cities, USA

OJJPAC – by Steve Salvi

Sanctuary Cities: What are they?

Despite a 1996 federal law [the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act ( IIRIRA )] that requires local governments to cooperate with Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), many large urban cities (and some small) have adopted so-called “sanctuary” policies.  Generally, sanctuary policies instruct city employees not to notify the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens living in their communities. The policies also end the distinction between legal resident aliens and illegal aliens–so illegal aliens often benefit from taxpayer funded government services and programs too.  

A formal sanctuary policy is a written policy that may have been passed by 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 their sanctuary policies are in writing, often get the attention of the media, and subject to public records requests by citizens and the press.

Examples of a 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 will 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 somewhat after news organizations began exposing how the city’s sanctuary policy had protected illegal alien gang members that were committing serious crimes in San Francisco and elsewhere.  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 a policy that does not exist on paper but none-the-less is carried out by government workers (administrative, service, and or safety).  An informal sanctuary policy is more difficult to document since no public record exists.  A city with an informal sanctuary policy can however 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 ICE or release a suspect involved in a misdemeanor traffic stop after determining he or she is likely an illegal alien or the alien admits to being in the U.S. illegally?

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?  These actions and statements are indicators that an informal (unwritten) sanctuary policy may exist in a community.

Why do public officials create sanctuaries?

One justification of creating sanctuary cities is often under the guise of protecting “immigrant rights.”  But illegal aliens are not immigrants — immigrants come to the U.S. legally, and maintain their legal presence. When a person is illegally smuggled into the U.S. or violates their visa restrictions — he/she is not an immigrant or visitor, but an illegal alien subject to deportation under existing federal law.

Another common argument public officials use to justify sanctuary policies is safety–framing them as an effective “community policing” policy tool.  The argument goes as follows: Illegal aliens who are victims of crimes or are witnesses to crimes won’t report them to police for fear of arrest and deportation.  However, these political panderers ignore the fact that if the illegal aliens were removed from the U.S., they would not be here to become victims, and the predators would be out of the country too.

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 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), or other immigration activist groups 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.   In the end, officials just don’t want immigration laws enforced–and that includes a great number of people who are in charge of  municipal law enforcement, especially big cities.  It’s much easier for city officials to collect their paychecks and avoid the political protests and threats of expensive lawsuits that routinely follow attempts by cities to stop illegal aliens from taking root in their communities.

The consequences of sanctuary policies.  What you can do.

Sanctuary policies–official or otherwise, result in safe havens (or safer havens) for illegal aliens involved in a variety of criminal enterprises–since their illegal schemes are less likely to be uncovered and face less risk of deportation if caught by local law enforcement.  Sanctuary policies also provide an environment helpful to Latin American drug cartels, gangs, and terrorist cells–since their activities are less likely to be detected by law enforcement.

Some sanctuary cities (e.g., Chicago and San Francisco) even receive millions of dollars in federal State Criminal Alien Assistance Program grants to compensate for the cost of jailing illegal alien criminals–even though city sanctuary policies act to encourage illegal alien settlement.

The negative effects of Santa Clara County California’s sanctuary policy has put its citizens at greater risk according to the county’s District Attorney.   District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen has 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 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 help 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 ask for 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 your community’s policies are.  If your local government or state has official or unofficial sanctuary policies, ask that they be repealed or changed.  Many state legislatures have either passed or are considering immigration enforcement legislation too, which you can support.

Some local, county and state 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 the quality of life for citizens improved.

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.

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.  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.

The Missouri legislature acted to rein in sanctuary cities by amending Chapter 67of the Missouri Revised Statutes, enactingSection 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.  Local and state officials argue that they can pass some laws that do not conflict with federal law.  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that some aspects of these state statutes are constitutional.  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 a number of decisions favorable to state and local governments in the next year or two, a tsunami of carefully drafted model immigration enforcement bills will likely flood city halls and legislatures around the country.

Does your city, county, or state have a written or “unwritten” sanctuary policy?  First, read the following 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 and last revised on 3-21-13.

List of U.S. Sanctuary Cities*   

*Note: Not all listings have been independently confirmed by OJJPAC. If you believe a city should not be listed, please send an email, and OJJPAC will make note of the dispute and attempt to verify.  Adjacent dates represent when a city was added to the list, not necessarily when it became (or allegedly became) a sanctuary city. Other notations may indicate the source of information.  Cities without a date were added prior to May, 2007.  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 own community.  The presence of illegal aliens in a community does not necessarily indicate that a city supports illegal migration or is a “sanctuary city.”

The sanctuary list is continuously updated.  It was last updated on: 5-30-14

The Original list of 

Sanctuary Cities, USA


Note: Cities that have rescind their sanctuary ordinances or resolutions will be in green text.


  • Anchorage, AK  (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service) (7-29-10 The Municipality of Anchorage disputes the listing. See notes at bottom of page for details.)
  • * (The city of Fairbanks has been removed from the Sanctuary Cities list due to the city council’s passage of a resolution supporting a formal recognition of its cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.  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 Fairbanks for taking positive steps to clarify its compliance with federal law. Fairbanks enforcement statistics will be monitored for compliance.Arizona
  • Chandler, AZ   (Added 5/30/07, Congressional Research Service Report, 2006 )
  • Mesa, AZ        (Added 10-18-09, Sources: Judicial Watch; East Valley Tribune article,1-4-2008)*
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Tucson, A Z    (Added 11-12-07, Source: 11-11-07 story by Brady McCombs, Arizona Daily Star. See note below.)California
  • Bell Gardens, CA
  • City of Industry, CA
  • City of Commerce, CA
  • Coachella, CA       (Added 7-23-12, Source: La Voz de Aztlan. Passed in 2006 and existence supported by quotes in city’s 9-12-07 council meeting minutes.)
  • Cypress, CA
  • Davis CA
  • Downey, CA
  • Fresno, CA            (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Greenfield, CA    (Added 7-23-12, Source: Battle at the ballot box in Greenfield, Monterey County, The Herald, 6-1-12)
  • Lakewood, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA   (Congressional Research Service)
  • Long Beach, CA
  • Lynwood, CA
  • Maywood, CA
  • Montebello, CA
  • National City, CA
  • Norwalk, CA
  • Oakland, CA                 (Added 8-27-07. Source: 4/25/07 story by KCBS 740 AM. Link here.)
  • Paramount, CA
  • Pico Rivera, CA
  • Richmond, CA               (Added 11-5-09. Sources:  Mayor Gayle McLaughlin’s campaign website from 2004, 2006)
  • So. Gate, CA
  • San Bernardino, Ca.      (Added 6/7/07, reader submitted /  9/5/08 Listing disputed by the city administration* See addl.notes)
  • San Diego, CA              Sources: Congressional Research Service; SDPD chief endorses constoversial immigration bill, Fox-TV 5, 9-2-13
  • Santa Clara County, CA  (Added 11-29-10, source:  Forced into Immigration Enforcement, A County Considers Plan B, 10-21-10, Huffington Post.)
  • Santa Cruz, CA             (Added 5/30/07, documented by KSBW news)
  • San Francisco, CA        (Congressional Research Service)
  • San Jose, CA                (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Santa Maria, CA           (11-18-08 Submitted research from local activist/ Listing disputed by the city administration)
  • Sonoma County, CA    (Congressional Research Service)
  • Vernon, CA
  • Watsonville, CA         (Added 5/30/07, documented by KSBW news)
  • Wilmington, CA


  •  Aurora, CO
  •  Commerce City, CO
  •  Denver, CO                     (Source: Congressional Research Service)
  •  Durango, CO                   (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
  •  Federal Heights, CO
  •  Fort Collins, CO
  •  Lafayette, CO                 (Added 6/3/07, documented by reader)
  •  Thornton, CO
  •  Westminster, CO


  • Hartford, CT                     (Added 5/4/10.  Source: [Ordinance passed in 2008], NEWS 21 Blog, by Amy Crawford, Hartford, CT)
  • New Haven, CT                (Added 6/4/07.  Source: TV News 8: City council votes 25-1 to issue ID cards to illegal aliens)


  • DeLeon Springs, FL
  • Deltona, FL
  • Jupiter, FL  (Added 4-13-09. Previously on watch list.)
  • Lake Worth, FL  (Added 4-13-09.)
  • Miami, FL


  • Dalton, GA        (Added 5/30/07. 6/18/07 Listing disputed by the City of Dalton, GA. City’s written policy requested, not received as of 1-28-12. )Illinois
  • Chicago, IL        (Congressional Research Service)
  • Cicero, IL          (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Evanston, IL       (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)Iowa
  • (See city watch list below)Kansas
  • Wichita                (Source: Police department policy exposed after the death of Lola Jayne, KSN TV-3, 12-19-08)


  • New Orleans, LA  (Source: Police department announced policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”  by Police superintendent Warren Riley, WWL-TV; 9-9-09)


  • Cambridge, MA     (Source: Boston Globe. First passed resolution in 1985)
  • Chelsea, MA          (Added: 8-14-07 Source: Chelsea government website with text of sanctuary policy.)
  • Northampton, MA  (Added 6-20-12 Source: City of Northampton Resolution dated 8-18-2011.  Resolution limits cooperation with ICE but does not use the term “sanctuary.” )
  • Orleans, MA          (Added 6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Sommerville, MA   (Added 7-23-12 Original resolution passed in 1987, later repealed and replaced with Safe City Resolution. Source: Sommerville News Blog, 10-15-2007)
  • Springfield, MA      (Disputed)Maine
  • Portland    (Added 5/31/07 Note: Maine resident reported that Portland city council passed sanctuary legislation)
  • State of Maine   (Added 5/31/07 Note: Governor of Maine initiated de facto protections for illegals by Executive Order in 2004)*Maryland
  • Baltimore, MD               (Congressional Research Service)
  • Gaithersburg, MD
  • Mt. Rainier, MD        (Added 1-20-08, Source: The Washington D.C. Examiner, 1-19-08)
  • Montgomery County, MD  (Added 11-3-09, Source: Frederick County sheriff worried about MontCo gangs, The Washington D.C. Examiner, 11-2-09)
  • Takoma Park, MD      (Reported that City ordinance passed some 20 years ago; Congressional Research Service)Michigan
  • Ann Arbor, MI      (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Detroit, MI            (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Minnesota
  • Austin, MN            (Added 11-1-11 Source: Protecting illegal immigrants to catch criminals, Star Tribune, 10-27-11)*
  • Minneapolis, MN    (Congressional Research Service)
  • St. Paul, MN
  • Worthington, MN   (Added 5-30-07 Note: This is where a Swift plant was raided by ICE in December, 2006)Nevada
  • Reno                        (Added 5-31-07; 2-18-08 Disputed by city; OJJPAC has requested a copy of city policies. Copy of policies never received as of 1-28-12) New Jersey
  • Camden, NJ                (Added in 2007; latest source: Camden, Immigrant Haven?, By Lauren Feeney, City Paper, 7-16-08)
  • Fort Lee, NJ
  • Hightstown, NJ           (Added 5-30-07)
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Newark, NJ                (Added 6-3-07)
  • North Bergen, NJ
  • Trenton, NJ
  • Union City, NJ
  • West New York, NJNew Mexico
  • Albuquerque, NM            6/13/07 Congressional Research Service; 8-14-07 KOB-TV 4 Eyewitness News report
  • Aztec, NM                       Added 5-8-10, Identified by CRS in 2006 report to Congress
  • Rio Ariba County, NM    6/13/07 Congressional Research Service
  • 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.
  • New York
  • Albany, NY                (Added 7-22-09 Source: Council adopts don’t ask policy, Times Union report by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist)
  • Bay Shore, NY
  • Brentwood, NY
  • Central Islip, NY
  • Farmingville, NY
  • New York City, NY
  • Riverhead, NY
  • Shirly/Mastic, NY
  • Spring Valley Village, NY  (Added 7-25-07)
  • Uniondale, NY
  • Westbury, NYNorth Carolina
  • 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)
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Chatham County, NC    (Added 1-14-09 Source: Chatham rejects immigration program, The News & Observer; Chatham County Commissioners Board Minutes, 1-5–09)
  • Durham, NC                 (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Raleigh
  • Winston-SalemOhio
  • Columbus, OH        (7/5/07 Source: 5/10/07 Columbus Dispatch article stating illegal aliens in misdemeanor cases are not reported to ICE)
  • Dayton, OH            (Added 1-11-10 Source:  Dayton Daily News story by Lucas Sullivan.  Police chief prohibits officers from asking about immigration status.
  • Lima, OH                    (Added 10-28-08 Note:  City administration opposes County Sheriff’s efforts to remove illegal aliens.)
  • Lorain, OH             (Added 4-21-14 Source:  Lorain Police Chief Celestino Rivera has ordered (by written policy) his officers not to cooperate with ICE)
  • Oberlin, OH           (Added 1-25-09. Source: City Resolution adopted January 20, 2009)
  • Painesville, OH        (7-19-07 Source: 7-18-07 Cleveland Scene article)


  • Oklahoma City         (de facto)
  • Tulsa                        (6-3-07 Note: Tulsa city council is discussing changing its sanctuary policy.  8-15-10 Update:  See note below.)


  • Ashland, OR               (8-9-07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Gaston, OR                (8-9-07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Marion County, OR    (8-9-07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Multnomah County, OR  (Added 11-9-13 Source: Sheriff’s office says ‘no’ to ICE, By Kirsten Lock, Fox TV-12, 4-25-13)
  • Portland, OR
  • State of Oregon *       (8-9-07 Congressional Research Service)  *(See note below)


  • 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.
  • Philadelphia, PA*          (7-15-10 Source: Mayor Nutter’s, November, 2009 Executive order: Policy Concerning Access of Immigrants to City Services .)
  • Pittsburg, PA  (Added 5-29-14 Source: Pittsburg Post Gazette: Pittsburg launches effort to woo more immigrants, 5-29-14)

Rhode Island

  • Providence         (Added 5-17-11 Source: Providence wants to opt out of ‘Secure Communities’ database, by Gregory Smith, Providence Journal, 2-23-11).


  • Austin, TX                (Congressional Research Service)
  • Baytown, TX            (6-13-07 Local reader observation)
  • Brownsville, TX
  • Channelview, TX      (6-13-07 Local reader observation)
  • Denton, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • El Cenizo, TX          (6-13-07 Congressional Research Service)
  • Ft.Worth, TX
  • Houston, TX            (Congressional Research Service)
  • Katy, TX                 (Congressional Research Service)
  • Laredo, TX
  • Mcallen, TX
  • Port Arthur, TX          (6-13-07 Reader/resident observation)Utah
  • State of Utah                (Added 5-15-11  Source:  Utah Approves Guest Worker Program for Illegal Immigrants, ABC New, 5-7-11)
  • Provo, UT*                (* 8-27-2010  The current administration in Provo Utah contacted OJJPAC earlier this month and indicated that it has no desire to be a sanctuary city.                                     *5-16-11Update:  Pending removal of Provo, UT from list upon verification of city’s participation/cooperation in enforcement of immigration laws.)
  • Salt Lake City, UTVirginia
  • Alexandria, VA*            (Added 10-6-08,  Source: City Resolution No. 2246 adopted 10-9-07)
  • Fairfax County, VA
  • Virginia Beach, VA         (Added 6/3/07)


  • Burlington, VT            (Added 5-14-09  Source: 5-13-09 Associated Press story by Wilson Ring)
  • Middlebury, VT          (Added 5-14-09  Source: 5-13-09 Associated Press story by Wilson Ring)
  • State of Vermont*        (Added 11-29-10  Source: 11-21-10 Vermont AG proposes bias-free policing policy, Burlington Free Press)


  • King Co. Council, WA     (Added as a de facto sanctuary on 6-28-09 Source: The Seattle Times; and on 11-9-09 Ordinance passed)
  • Seattle, WA                      (Added 5/30/07; Congressional Research Service)


  • Madison, WI                    (Congressional Research Service)  Update: In June, 2010, the city council passed a resolution reaffirming its policy.
  • Millwaukee County, WI    (Added 6-10-12 Source article: County Board Resolution on Immigration on target, Opinion, Journal Sentinel News., 6-9-12)
  • Wyoming
  • Jackson Hole, WY

Washington, D.C.         (Update: 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.
Read more at the Washington Examiner:
Cities under review

Diamond Bar, CA   (6/26/07 Disputed by city. Currently being researched to verify.)

Boulder, CO

DesMoines, IA  (Added 11-28-07 Source: Proposal seeks banning immigration raids in D.M., by Nigel Duara, DesMoines-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 2-6-14.

  • Joliet, IL                  (Source: Resident alleges police have don’t ask don’t tell policy, courts ignore immigration status)
  • Iowa City, IA          (Source: Article, Group pushes Iowa City as ‘immigration sanctuary city,’ DesMoines Register, 10-31-10)
  • Cedar Rapids, IA    (Source: Article, Two Iowa cities considering adopting sanctuary policies for illegal aliens, by Dave Gibson,, 12-20-10)
  • Lexington, KY         (Source: 11-12-07 Submitted by local resident who claims it is a sanctuary city)
  • Worcester, MASS   (Source: 8-14-07 Worcester Telegram)
  • Silver Springs, MD   (Source: 5-17-12 Local resident)
  • Lakewood, NJ         (Source:9-10-08  Local residents)
  • Middletown, OH      (Source: 1-30-08 Middletown News-Journal)
  • Springfield, OH         (Source: 1-27-08 Springfield-News-Sun)
  • Clark County, OH    (Source: 1-27-08; 9-29-08 Springfield-News-Sun Editorial (Sheriff Kelly not interested in removing illegal aliens)
  • Gallatin, TN              (Source: 9-26-08 Reader)
  • Shelbyville, TN         (Source: News articles submitted by Shelbyville resident)
  • Portland, TN             (Source: 9-26-08 Reader)
  • Hendersonville, TN   (Source: 9-26-08 Reader)
  • Whitehouse, TN        (Source: 9-26-08 Reader)
  • McKinney, TX          (Source:  11-28-11 Star Local News article by Marthe Stinton)
  • Kings County, WA    (Source:  5-8-12  3 King County officials balk at ICE detainer program) Anchorage, AKMesa, ArizonaAustin, MN Philadelphia, PATucson, ArizonaTulsa, OklahomaState of OregonSan 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 presense 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sanctuary Cities, USA: Additional Notes

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 ( 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).”

Columbus, OH

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.”  [Columbus, Ohio]

Painesville, OH

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:

Oklahoma City is a sanctuary city de facto.  Police officers have been told not to stop any Hispanic for minor traffic violations, because they have a good chance of being illegal and it is a waste of time.  The City has not been enforcing City Code if the recipient of the code violation doesn’t speak English.  And is not attempting to enforce the single-family dwelling laws.

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.

Alexandria, VA

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)

  • Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress
  • CRS Report for Congress, Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement, Updated August 14, 2006

8 thoughts on “Sanctuary Cities, USA

  1. How can you come to any other conclusion except that it is the intent of the PTB to overrun this country with criminals and leeches in order to bankrupt and oppress native Americans. For the record, I am and have been friends with numerous people of several races and nationalities who have come here legally and become productive citizens. It offends them deeply to have jumped through all the legal hoops to get here and now illegals are welcomed with open arms in some places.

    1. Agreed
      My wife is from SA , it was many years of head aches and heart break to get her here, and tons of money and “interviews” she also had to have a health screening done ( none of that is being done with these people , or at least if it is being done its being done when they get here, well its too dam late by then)
      We cant even get a visa for her Mom and Dad to come visit to see how their only daughter lives and visit with their only Grand daughter ..its sickening..I have blown a lot of money in an effort to bring them here just for a visit they have no intention of staying here they just want to come visit ..each time they are denied , none of them have any criminal past, and they own a business
      any time we want to see them we have to go there.. if this keeps up..maybe we will leave and go live there.. im more welcome in their country then they are here, and than She and I see this and it just pisses us off to no end

      My wife is now an American Citizen , has been for 4 years ,jumped thru all those hoops and such, she had to wait 4 years to even apply for so pissed i cant even continue this rant!

  2. You have my sympathies VRF. I’ve heard this story before. Whites from Zimbabwe and SA have been delayed and denied for years while allowing ms13 and god knowa who else to wander in and out at will. Its disgusting and infuriating. If you decide to leave we’ll miss you, but understand.

    1. well im probably not going anywhere, Im just pissed
      end all be all im an American Patriot I’ll stay and fight with my boots on ,, might die in a pile of brass , its not going to be that easy for them to get rid of me

      1. You’ll find me in the trenches along side of you, you can take that to the ba ….ahhh.. well not the bank, them crooked fuckers would sell us out .. you can take that to my grave!
        Si vis pacem, para bellum

  3. Ya call the prez and congress. What a joke. Lets get the feds involved in taking away states rights.

    I say burn the sanctuarys down.

  4. “Generally, sanctuary policies instruct city employees not to notify the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens living in their communities. The policies also end the distinction between legal resident aliens and illegal aliens–so illegal aliens often benefit from taxpayer funded government services and programs too.”

    TREASON! TREASON! TREASON! Hang ’em all! 😡

  5. Imagine that. Dallas, Austin and Denton, TX are on that list. Why the hell am I not surprised on this Frickin’ Friday?

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