The Implications of President Trump’s Executive Order Impacting Sanctuary Cities

Kisshia Simmons, Esq and Cecelia Thomas.

On January 25, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order to support immigration enforcement and punish local governments that do not comply with federal authorities by withdrawing federal funding.  This executive order came two days before the controversial executive order, also known as the “Muslim ban”, which has since been struck down by the federal appeals court.

What are Sanctuary Cities?

Sanctuary city is a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain procedures that shelters illegal immigrants. The term most commonly is used for cities that do not permit municipal funds or resources to be applied in furtherance of enforcement of federal immigration laws.  In some “sanctuary cities” officials refuse to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation.  Federal officials must rely on local police to help enforce federal immigration laws, but the law does not require local authorities to detain illegal immigrants just because their federal counterparts make a request. Some sanctuary cities include New York, Chicago, Seattle, Miami and Washington D.C.

What are the Effects of the Executive Order on the Sanctuary Cities?

President Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order asked the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to withhold “federal funds, except as mandated by law” from sanctuary cities. Homeland Security funds could include money allocated to cities for counterterrorism.  However, it is important to realize that this executive order can affect each sanctuary city differently.  Cities such as New York and Los Angeles may not feel the impact of the order because they are not as reliant on federal funding for their day to day services.  However, cities like Denver could risk funding that could impact funding for transportation, police and other big projects.

What is Next?

Several sanctuary cities have filed lawsuits in federal court challenging the executive order on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional penalty for local governments that have sought to build trust with their immigrant communities.  Opponents of the executive order argue that the executive order could run afoul of the 10th Amendment, which address the separation of powers between the federal government, states, and cities.

Our law firm has been continuously monitoring the ever evolving immigration related executive orders and the law suits that have followed them. We are here to answer any of your questions on how this executive order affects you and your loved ones. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

 

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