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What is a sanctuary city?

In a previous post, we talked about illegal immigration and an immigrant’s rights to “life, liberty and property.” If you are at all familiar with the subject, you know that there are areas around the state called sanctuary cities that typically do not follow immigration laws or cooperate with federal authorities on immigration issues. These cities have become a sort of gathering place for many people in the process of attaining U.S. citizenship or others just wanting a place to call home. In Texas specifically, it has been reported that Austin, Houston and Dallas are all sanctuary cities. However, multiple officials in high-level positions across all of those cities have disagreed with that labeling. The result? We really are not sure what cities are “sanctuary” or not, leading to statewide confusion.

What is the exact meaning of 'sanctuary city'?

If you’re here to find out what the exact meaning of a sanctuary city is, you’re somewhat out of luck. This term has no legal meaning and is interpreted in very different ways across the country. Normally in cities that do not have any sanctuary policies, if an illegal immigrant is arrested, a 48-hour detainer can be put on that person, which allows the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (that thing called ICE you’ve been hearing so much about) to pick that person up and remove him or her from the country. However, in sanctuary cities, officers do not have to notify ICE of citizenship status of a convicted person, resulting in the use of taxpayer money for court-appointed attorneys and the possibility of the crime being recommitted.

To break it down, if you oppose sanctuary cities, you may:

  • believe that after spending $800 million on border security, a “safe place” for illegal immigrants goes against that taxpayer money
  • or, believe that federal immigration policy should be followed by all places receiving federal benefits (ie. the entire country)

On the other hand, if you support sanctuary cities, you may:

  • believe that police officers should not have to act as immigration officials
  • or, believe that jails should not become “holding tanks” for illegal immigrants
  • or even believe that individuals should not be penalized for the enforcement of laws that have not been enforced for a long period of time

No matter what side of the coin you fall under when thinking about sanctuary cities, laws are constantly changing and there is no right or wrong answer. This means that people who are unaware of these changes run the risk of getting caught up in major legal trouble for a rule they didn’t know they ever needed to follow.

As an illegal immigrant, it is now more important than ever to retain a knowledgeable attorney at the time of an arrest. Daniel & Hudson Law Offices understand these matters and will know exactly what to do for you. Do not go down this path alone.

For a free, confidential consultation contact the Law Offices of Daniel & Hudson at 210-222-2297. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.