According to The Washington Times, roughly half of all Americans now live in cities that openly attempt to thwart federal immigration authorities under the so-called "sanctuary city" policies that shield illegal immigrants, including criminal illegal immigrants, from law enforcement.
The numbers showing that half of Americans live in sanctuary cities were tallied by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. From The Washington Times:
FAIR calculates there were 564 states and municipalities that refuse some level of cooperation with federal immigration authorities as of April 1, up more than 200 since President Trump took office and up more than 500 compared with a decade ago. There were just 40 sanctuaries when President Obama took office.
Entire states such as California, Illinois and New York are now sanctuaries, as well as major cities and counties such as Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the District of Columbia in the capital region, according to the list.
Combined, the sanctuaries on FAIR’s list cover 49 percent of the country’s population, The Washington Times calculated.
Bob Dane, executive director at FAIR, said these staggering numbers put the United States on a path to becoming a "sanctuary country."
"This is just an astounding and a dramatic surge of sanctuary jurisdictions," said Dane. "They’ve doubled in just two years, and if you game that out, if the exponential growth continues, it’s not going to be long before it’s accurate to say the U.S. is a sanctuary country."
The official definition of what constitutes a "sanctuary city" varies, but the general rule for qualifying is a city that "bans police or other officials from asking about immigration status, forbids communication with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or refuses to hold likely deportees for pickup by ICE."
Other organizations, such as Ohio Jobs and Justice Political Action Committee, had slightly lower estimates than FAIR, though the number of Americans living in sanctuary cities remains relatively high.
"The surge in sanctuaries began under Mr. Obama, with an average of three sanctuaries per month added during his two terms, according to FAIR statistics," reports WT. "Mr. Trump, meanwhile, is seeing an average of 16 new sanctuaries each month."
California has the most sanctuary cities in its state — more than 130, with 80 being added under the reign of President Trump. While Democrats bear the responsibility, Dane says that the onus is on Trump to stop them by pressing Congress to pass legislation and sending ICE agents into those cities against their mayoral wishes. "Trump owns this problem. The buck stops on the president’s desk, even though it’s not his fault," he said.
Last year, the House passed an anti-sanctuary cities bill only to have it quashed in the Senate thanks to a Democratic filibuster.