A sanctuary city is a type of city in the United States and Canada that protects undocumented immigrants by not persecuting due to the fact they came into the country illegally. This term started being used in the 1980s. Sanctuary cities do not enforce national immigration laws and forbid law enforcement from asking about an individual’s immigration status. Currently there are 32 cities in Northern America that classify themselves as sanctuary cities. This list includes major metropolitan cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami and Washington D.C. Austin is the latest city in the U.S. seeking sanctuary status.
Cities can become classified as sanctuary cities if local government authorities can find loopholes in federal law allowing them to protect undocumented immigrants. Illegal immigrants who live in these cities are able to enjoy benefits such as obtaining a driver’s license and participate in welfare and medicare programs. Mayors of sanctuary cities are proud of the classification and vow to protect all people within their city limits under that label.
Many wonder what the future holds for sanctuary cities when President-Elect Trump comes to power. Trump has recently come out and stated that he will ban all federal funding for these designated cities.