The entire purpose of a sanctuary city is to give someone a safe place to go if they are fleeing violence. The United States has a problem with illegal immigration, but many of the people trying to enter the country are fleeing violence. Therefore, many people are hesitant to try to deport these individuals because it is seen as immoral. There is a lot of debate going on in various state governments across the country regarding whether a city can declare itself a sanctuary city.
If a city is a sanctuary city, it will not cooperate with immigration authorities looking to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. The actual impact of this can vary from state to state, and California is one of the biggest sanctuary locations in the country.
There are a lot of cities in California that have declared themselves Sanctuary cities. Berkeley actually became the first city in the United States to declare itself a sanctuary city. It did so back in 1971.
There are plenty of other cities in California that have declared themselves Sanctuary cities as well. Coachella, which is approximately 95 percent Latino, declared itself a sanctuary city in 2015. Los Angeles declared itself a sanctuary city in 1979. At that time, police officers in Los Angeles were barred from initiating contact with an individual solely to determine their immigration status. San Francisco also declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989.
Some of the other cities in California that are considered Sanctuary cities include Huntington Beach, Seaside, and Williams.
California is considered to be a sanctuary state. In 2017, the governor of California signed a bill making the state a sanctuary state. The purpose of this bill is to prevent local and state law enforcement agencies from cooperating with immigration authorities regarding people who have committed misdemeanors. Even though immigration authorities can still contact California looking for people who have committed felonies, local authorities are not allowed to work with immigration authorities solely to look for people who have committed misdemeanors. This does not mean that misdemeanors are not prosecuted in California. It simply means that immigration authorities cannot be the ones to pursue those charges or those individuals.
A lot of people are wondering whether sanctuary cities are a good thing. The benefits of sanctuary cities are obvious. The goal is to provide people who are fleeing violence with a safe place to go as they seek asylum through a formal processes in the United States. People cannot simply wait in their home countries to seek asylum if someone is trying to kill them.
On the other hand, a lot of people are concerned that this will increase crime rates in the local area. Many people assume that if someone is fleeing violence, they are going to bring higher crime rates with them. It will be interesting to see how the topic evolves.