Trump says sanctuary cities are hotbeds of crime. Data say the opposite

Christopher Ingraham writes: The “sanctuary cities” that President Trump has repeatedly characterized as incubators of crime are generally safer than other cities, according to a new analysis of FBI crime data.

There’s no legal definition of a sanctuary city, but most observers adopt criteria used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify cities and counties where local authorities refuse to hand over illegal immigrants to federal agents for deportation.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump often characterized these locales as dangerous hotbeds of criminal activity and promised to suspend all federal funding to them.

“We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths,” he told a crowd in Phoenix in the fall.

But an analysis of FBI crime data by Tom Wong, a professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, finds that counties designated as “sanctuary” areas by ICE typically experience significantly lower rates of all types of crime, including lower homicide rates, than comparable non-sanctuary counties. The analysis was published by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank. [Continue reading…]

The Los Angeles Times reports: President Donald Trump’s plan to enlist local police and sheriff’s departments in immigration enforcement has set the stage for a pitched battle with California officials who have long prioritized building ties with immigrant communities.

Trump’s plan, which was issued Wednesday as part of a pair of executive orders, seeks to broaden the reach of federal immigration authorities into county jails.

It also calls for empowering police officers and deputies to act as immigration enforcers, leaving open the possibility that they would be required to inquire about the immigration status of the people they encounter on the streets.

Such a regime could conflict with the Los Angeles Police Department’s decades-old policy that prohibits officers from initiating contact with a person solely to ask about whether he or she is in the country legally.

Local governments that defy the Trump administration’s immigration policies by acting as “sanctuary cities” could be denied federal funding, one of the executive orders states.

More than 400 jurisdictions across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and about 40 others in California, have such policies protecting immigrants.

California state officials have signaled that they will put up a fight. The California Legislature has selected former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to serve as outside counsel on the state’s legal strategy for dealing with the incoming administration.

The state’s new attorney general, former congressman Xavier Becerra, said at his swearing-in Tuesday that he will form a united front with officials from other states to defend their policies against any federal challenges.

Hours after Trump signed the executive orders, Los Angeles leaders suggested they would mount a legal challenge if funding is taken away. [Continue reading…]

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