For Immediate Release: January 25, 2018
Contact: Jareyah Bradley, jareyah [at] balestramedia.com908.242.4822

New Report and Map: Sanctuary Policies Strengthened in 410 Counties Across the Country in 2017, Finds the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center Tracks Significant Rise in Areas Refusing to Honor Unconstitutional ICE Detainers, Further Opportunities to Defend and Expand Policies in 2018

A year into the Trump Administration, which the federal government has spent aggressively attacking “sanctuary cities” in America, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center today released “The Rise of Sanctuary: Getting Local Law Enforcement out of the Business of Deportation.” The new report and interactive map shows the level of sanctuary protection in more than 3,000 counties across the country. Notably, the research finds that 410 localities have strengthened their sanctuary policies during 2017, with nearly a quarter of all the counties in the country refusing “ICE holds,” or requests made by Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) for local law enforcement to unlawfully detain immigrant residents.

Read the full report herewww.ilrc.org/rise-sanctuary

Access the live map herewww.ilrc.org/local-enforcement-map

“When it comes to sanctuary cities, President Trump is bullying local electeds and law enforcement to comply with illegal requests from ICE,” said Lena Graber, staff attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. “Trump’s anti-sanctuary attacks are so baseless that the Administration has lost every court ruling so far on their unconstitutional attempts to withhold federal grants. It is the Trump Administration, not sanctuary cities, who are violating the law and the constitution.”

ILRC tracks many different types of policies that limit local involvement in immigration enforcement. Nearly a quarter of counties in the country (735) currently do not hold on ICE detainers—a figure that has climbed steeply from 2013 when only a handful of counties had explicit policies against the practice. As federal immigration enforcement tactics have gotten more aggressive, communities have enacted broader policies limiting their assistance to ICE.

“While 98 percent of counties have no official contract with ICE, there is a great opportunity in 2018 to strengthen and establish new policies that actively protect our immigrant neighbors and do not spend local resources detaining and deporting our community members,” continued Graber. “Sanctuary policies are a commonsense response to a political agenda rooted in racism and exclusion and a step in helping to keep more families where they belong – together.”

The report finds that of the ten counties that are home to 30 percent of America's immigrant population, a large majority have enacted some of the strongest sanctuary policies. ”Sanctuary” does not have any single meaning; the ILRC tracks many policies that limit local involvement in immigration enforcement, including limits on alerts to ICE about release (163 counties), general prohibition on immigration enforcement (112 counties), restrictions on asking about immigration status (85 counties), and protections against ICE interrogations (77 counties).

For questions about the report or interviews with a report author, please contact Jareyah Bradley at jareyah [at] balestramedia.com or 908.242.4822.


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC’s mission is to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. www.ilrc.org