Sanctuary Policies Don’t Promote Cooperation with Police – They Just Make Communities Less Safe

Sanctuary Policies Don’t Promote Cooperation with Police – They Just Make Communities Less Safe


(April 3, 2018, Washington, D.C.) — The most common justification for sanctuary policies that bar nearly all cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities is that such policies are necessary to foster trust with immigrant communities. A new analysis by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) finds that sanctuary policies have no effect on immigrants’ – legal or illegal – willingness to step forward to report crimes, or provide police with information. What such policies do promote is more crime, as deportable aliens are turned back into the community rather than removed from the country.

An analysis of available data nationwide indicates that there is no discernable difference in the way immigrants report crimes or provide information in jurisdictions that maintain sanctuary policies and those that do not. In fact, under some of the most radical sanctuary policies that protect illegal alien gang members, it is fear of retribution by gangs, not fear of the police that inhibits cooperation.

Among the key findings of the analysis:

  • There is no documented evidence indicating that any illegal alien has ever been deported solely as a result of reporting a crime or volunteering information to the police. Police do not inquire about the immigration status of victims or witnesses.


  • Reporting crimes or providing evidence to local police can enhance an illegal alien’s chances of gaining legal status. Some illegal aliens may qualify for legal status in the U.S. if their assistance results in the conviction of serious criminals.


  • Reluctance to report crimes has more to do with lack of trust owing police corruption in their homelands than with fear of being reported to ICE.

Sanctuary policies make communities less safe for everyone, including immigrants they are ostensibly designed to protect:

  • According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 68 percent of released prisoners wind up being arrested for another criminal offense within three years and 76.6 percent end up being re-arrested within five years.


  • According to ICE estimates, roughly 2.1 million criminal aliens are currently living in the United States, over 1.9 million of whom are subject to deportation.


  • Criminal gangs, which prey indiscriminately on citizens and non-citizens alike, take advantage of sanctuary policies that protect them.

“The rationale that sanctuary policies – which defy federal law and common sense, and return criminal aliens to the community instead of seeing them deported – are necessary to build trust among immigrants was a flimsy one at best. After a close examination of the data, it is clear that there is no basis in fact for these claims,” said Dan Stein, president of FAIR.

“Sanctuary policies are nothing more than political decisions aimed at appeasing radical advocacy groups on behalf of illegal aliens that endanger public safety. Innocent people pay for these politically-driven policies with their lives, with no demonstrable evidence that they affect how or if illegal aliens will cooperate with local police,” Stein stated.

Contact: Joe Gomez, jgomez@fairus.org202-742-1843