Subsidizing Sanctuary Cities

WASHINGTON (November 8, 2010) – A new Center for Immigration Studies Memorandum finds that the Department of Justice annually awards millions of dollars in grants to local governments to compensate for the cost of jailing illegal aliens, even when those governments have policies obstructing immigration law enforcement or encouraging illegal settlement. The report includes a list of the 27 sanctuary jurisdictions receiving grants in 2010.

The grant program, known as the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), doled out a total of $400 million to about 850 cities, counties, and states in 2010. Among them were 27 jurisdictions widely considered to be sanctuary jurisdictions, which together received more than $62.6 million, or 15.6 percent of the total. For example, the 2010 SCAAP grantees include some jurisdictions – such as San Francisco, Chicago, Santa Clara County, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Va. – which are trying to opt out of Secure Communities, the program that automatically flags criminal aliens for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attention at the time they are booked into jail.

The authors suggest a remedy: restrict eligibility for SCAAP grants to those jurisdictions that agree to work with ICE to identify and remove criminal aliens by participating in Secure Communities, 287(g), or similar programs.

The report, 'Subsidizing Sanctuaries: The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program,' by Jessica Vaughan and Russ Doubleday, is online at .

[FYI — Mark Krikorian]

Contact: Jessica Vaughan, (508)346-3380,

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The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent non-partisan research institution that examines the impact of immigration on the United States.

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