Sanctuary city is a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain procedures that shelters illegal immigrants. These procedures can be by law (de jure) or they can be by action (de facto). 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. These cities normally do not permit police or municipal employees to inquire about one's immigration status. The designation of Sanctuary City” has no legal meaning.
Information obtained from* http://www.ojjpac.org/sanctuary.asp
*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: 1-30-11
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.)
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)*
DeLeon Springs, FL
Jupiter, FL (Added 4-13-09. Previously on watch list.)
Lake Worth, FL (Added 4-13-09.)
Ann Arbor, MI (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
Detroit, MI (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
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)
Albany, NY (Added 7-22-09 Source: Council adopts don't ask policy, Times Union report by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist)
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)
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.)
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)
State of Oregon * (8-9-07 Congressional Research Service) *(See note below)
Philadelphia, PA* (7-15-10 Source: Mayor Nutter's, November, 2009 Executive order: Policy Concerning Access of Immigrants to City Services .)
Salt Lake City, UT
Alexandria, VA* (Added 10-6-08, Source: City Resolution No. 2246 adopted 10-9-07)
Madison, WI (Congressional Research Service) Update: In June, 2010, the city council passed a resolution reaffirming its policy.
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.)
Cities under review
Diamond Bar, CA (6/26/07 Disputed by city. Currently being researched to verify.)
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 1-30-11.
Sanctuary Cities, USA: Additional Notes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
State of Oregon
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.
San 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.
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 (www.cata-farmworkers.org) 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)."
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]
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:
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.
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)