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Commentary By Jason L. Riley

Seeking Their Own Refuge, Sanctuary Cities Go to Court

Economics, Public Safety Immigration, National Security & Terrorism

Trump’s other executive order on immigration could make America’s streets less safe.

Within days of President Trump’s executive order to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, San Francisco had filed a lawsuit opposing the order, and the mayors of other cities with large immigrant populations—Los Angeles, Chicago, New York—had likewise vowed to defy the administration. In other words, everyone behaved as expected, which is the problem.

There is no established legal definition of a sanctuary city, but the term usually refers to jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration officials to prevent illegal aliens from being deported. The order threatens to block federal funding to uncooperative cities, while the lawsuit argues that forcing cities to comply is a violation of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment.

Defenders of sanctuary policies—including many law-enforcement officials—maintain that cities are safer when illegal immigrants are free to report crimes to police without fear of being deported. During the campaign, however, Mr. Trump vowed to end these renegade policies on the grounds, he said, that sanctuary cities are more prone to violent crime.

In fact, empirical studies have long shown that the foreign-born, regardless of legal status and country of origin, are arrested and incarcerated at lower rates than their native-born counterparts. Net migration from Mexico has been zero or negative in recent years, and illegal border crossings are at their lowest point since the 1970s.

Mr. Trump’s claim that illegal immigrants drive murders, rapes, assaults and other violent crime is also divorced from the reality that crime rates in the U.S. plummeted in recent decades even as illegal immigration soared.

From the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s, the country’s undocumented population doubled to roughly 12 million. Over the same period violent crime in the U.S. fell by more than a third, and property crime dropped more than 25%....

Read the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal


Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator.

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal