Sanctuary State to Preempt Local Governments

California moves towards "sanctuary state" status and will force local governments to provide sanctuary.

The State of California is moving forward a bill to preempt local governments which will force them to break federal law and bust their budgets in the process.

According to The Hill, the bill offered by Senate President Kevin de León (D) would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from spending money to enforce federal immigration laws. The measure would also ban immigration enforcement in state schools, health facilities and courthouses.

By preempting local governments, California will instruct its political subdivisions to break the law by refusing to hand over criminal illegal immigrants to Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). This would be an unprecedented move which would necessarily increase crime, increase the cost of incarceration and increase cost to social services and schools.

True crime statistics for illegal immigrants in California sanctuary cities are not reported based on citizenship status. The last in-depth information on illegal immigrant crime statistics came in 2004 when City Journal exposed in Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimated the number of illegal immigrants living in California to be much higher than the Pew Research Center’s estimate. MPI estimated a little more than 3 million illegal immigrants living in the state. Of those, 70 percent are from Mexico. About 412,000 come from Asian countries. Another 480,000 come from Central America and China.

According to a study by the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2014, FAIR found that providing education, health care, law enforcement, and social and government services to illegal aliens and their dependents costs Californians $25.3 billion per year.

If passed, the “Sanctuary State” preemption bill would override cities like Costa Mesa California who declared itself a Rule of Law City in 2010. As rule of law city Costa Mesa pledged to abide by federal immigration law and uphold their oath to the Constitution. “I have a lot of concerns with cities calling themselves sanctuary cities,” Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor said before the vote. “It’s important we state that we do not support illegal immigration.” OC Register

While state preemption of local governments is often necessary to reign-in out of control local officials, typically it’s done to create consistency in economic development and growth. This eliminates the creation of patchwork of local regulations that drive out business. California could lead a dangerous departure from legal tradition where local governments have control over their local police powers.

If California becomes a “sanctuary state” and statistics hold true, local governments will need to come to terms with the possible withdrawal of federal funding, backlogs in courts, increases in social service costs and a spike in crime.  Individuals seeking sanctuary from US immigration laws, from south of the border and other U.S. states could move to California in large numbers to live under a safe haven. This would also place an additional burden on infrastructure and schools.

The American City County Exchange does not have model policy on “Rule of Law Cities” or “Sanctuary Cities.”

In Depth: Budgets

Restoring accountability to government spending is another way to mend local budgets over the long run. Every local government should have a budget transparency website, allowing citizens to more easily find out how their tax dollars are spent. More fundamentally, local government should budget for outcomes. This means identifying the …

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