Sanctuary cities aren’t breaking laws
The May 23 news article “Justice memo defines ‘sanctuary city’ ” reported that sanctuary cities are defined as those that “violate a federal law requiring local and state governments to share information with federal authorities about immigrants’ citizenship or legal status.” In fact, the law in question, 8 U.S. Code 1373, does not require state or local jurisdictions to share information. Rather, it says that governments may not prohibit other government entities or officials from sending or receiving information about the “citizenship or immigration status . . . of any individual” to or from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
So a state government may not prohibit a local government from sharing immigration information with immigration authorities, but the local government is not affirmatively required to do so. Similarly, local governments, such as those in sanctuary cities, may not prohibit their police departments from sending or receiving such information, but the police are not obliged to do so. Nor are they required to collect or retain such information. The collection, retention and sharing of information about immigration status is voluntary for states and localities, and according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, “sanctuary policies are entirely consistent with federal laws.”
David Boesel, Severna Park