A newly released oversight report by watchdog group Open the Books, uncovered the price of keeping sanctuary cities afloat. According to new data, if the Trump administration pulls federal funding from the 106 cities, it would free up over $26 billion. That’s more than enough to pay for the border wall.
Trump caused a significant amount of controversy with one of his first acts in office. The Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety of the Interior of the United States calls for the federal funding to be cut off from any city who fails to comply with federal immigration law. As it turns it, that’s much of America.
The new report, gleaned information from a number of sources, including specific data from cities. Here are the highlights from that report.
A “sanctuary city,” is not a precise term, but rather a loose phrase the Department of Justice defines as “a local government entity not reporting to federal authorities: ‘aliens in custody.’”
The report lays out that there are almost 300 jurisdictions claiming to be sanctuary cities. However, as far as specific cities, there are only 106. Unfortunately, they comprise most of the major American cities, in every state. Not one contiguous state will be left unturned, nor will a single major city. The combined population of these cities is around 46 million people, according to the 2015 census. Within these cities, the report says, there are 11 million illegal immigrants.
One-quarter of them, that is over 2 million—live in just twelve major cities: Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Austin, Newark, Denver, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Portland (OR), and Providence. The federal funding in those twelve cities combined is near $16 billion.
The report overall found that losing federal funding cost residents. “Mayors defending their sanctuary city status by refusing to comply with federal law are essentially imposing a defiance tax on local residents. On average, this tax amounts to $500 per man, woman, and child. Major cities like Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago have the most to lose, and nearly $27 billion is at stake across the country,” Adam Andrzejewski the CEO for Open the Books said.
The oversight report found that on average if federal funding was pulled, Americans in sanctuary cities would stand to lose about $1,810 for a family of four. That figure breaks down to roughly $454 per person. The losses occur in the form of government subsidies to infrastructure, schools, emergency services, and a number of other places.
Further, per capita, the citizens of Washington D.C. and Chicago receive the most federal funding and their citizens would stand to lose more. The city government of Washington D.C. would lose funding amounting to $3,000 per person, or $2.09 billion in all. The hub of Chicago would lose $5.3 billion, which breaks down into $1,492 per person. Big cities like Miami would be out $14 million, but it would only be a per capita loss of $67.
The Department of Justice takes care of its own, with federal funds flowing into local law enforcement nationwide. Although this is a smaller amount, across the board, the DOJ will be looking at pulling $543 million in grants to law enforcement agencies.
The named 106 cities will lose nearly $4.25 billion in what are called, “direct payments.” These are government subsidies to cities for things like housing, education, and schools. Is illegal immigration starting to sound costly? There’s more. The cities will lose $21.5 billion in government grants—that is, additional funding of housing, schools, emergency services, and other government functions.
Los Angeles is one of the top sanctuary cities, where 1 in 5 residents are illegal. They only stand to lose $502.5 million in government aid if they insist on remaining a sanctuary city. But, if they face an immigration crackdown like Trump wants, they stand to lose more. Would volatile Los Angeles survive an all-out war against illegal immigration? Would the ideology tear apart the city?
The report shows overall that if President Trump chooses to follow through and takes away government funding like he said he would, the cities across America would suffer drastically. Would they do so at the expense of essentially a bunch of lawbreakers who insist on coming in illegally and being recognized as citizens? There is no doubt that many illegals work hard. Many take jobs a lot of Americans would love to bypass. Perhaps they have received fair punishment by having to live a lifestyle under the radar, one might argue.
But, it seems now, that it may be a more costly move than they had anticipated. The battle for America’s cities may have just begun.