NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 15, 2007

"Sanctuary cities" -- cities that ban cooperation between local officials and federal immigration officials -- provide a national networked haven for foreign and organized criminals who recruit and operate both inside and outside those areas, says former Sen. Fred Thompson.

The consequences of "sanctuary cities" may be most obvious in the city that became the first in 1979 -- Los Angeles:

  • According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a confidential California Department of Justice study from the mid-1990s showed then that at least 60 percent of the members of L.A.'s most violent gangs, with membership in the tens of thousands, were illegal aliens.
  • Of all outstanding murder warrants in Los Angeles, 95 percent are for illegal aliens.
  • Frustrated police say they are powerless to pick up even well-known, previously deported felons.

Further, the costs of policies that offer shelter to criminals are borne not just by the citizens of sanctuaries, says Thompson.  According to the Government Accountability Office:

  • Illegal aliens made up 27 percent of the federal prison population in 2005, totaling 49,000 and costing federal taxpayers $1.2 billion.
  • There were also more than 220,000 illegals in state and local prisons and jails.

Now, no one is suggesting that all illegal aliens are violent criminals, says Thompson. Most are peaceful folks just trying to get by like the rest of us.  But we would be far better off if we checked on people as they come into the country rather than find out who the bad ones are after they victimize people here.

Source: Fred Thompson, "Sanctuary Cities,", August 14, 2007.


Browse more articles on Government Issues