As of 2015, there were 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, representing 3.4% of the total US population. Eight million of these immigrants account for 5% of the workforce in the United States. For many reasons, immigration is one of today’s most controversial and debated topics. The current political climate makes the issue even more pressing. Threats to “build a wall” and calls to deport millions of immigrants were consistently repeated by Donald Trump throughout his campaign and have been reiterated unfailingly throughout his presidency. Adding to the anti-immigrant rhetoric is President Trump’s views on Sanctuary Cities. In May 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defined Sanctuary Cities as “those that willfully refuse to comply with a federal law that requires federal, state and local government agents to share individuals’ immigration status with immigration authorities.” These cities have existed since the 1980s. However, public awareness regarding them is relatively recent.
With humble beginnings in a church in Arizona, Sanctuary Cities have slowly become part of the nationwide immigration debate. This paper examines the 38 Sanctuary City jurisdictions that declared their status prior to 2014. Focusing primarily on unemployment rate and violent crime rate, each Sanctuary City is compared to state and national averages from 2000 to 2016 using simple linear graphs. The graphs, along with a deeper comparative analysis of the data, reveal that there is no indication that Sanctuary Cities cause higher unemployment or violent crime.