In the President Donald Trump-era, there could be a high-cost to running a sanctuary city...
On January 25, 2017, the President issued an Executive Order denying federal funding to sanctuary cities who choose not to comply with federal laws regarding deportation of illegal entrants.
Reaction to the new policy from across the political spectrum was immediate. However, the politicians, pundits and journalists admitted that the total amount of federal funding was undetermined.
Our organization, American Transparency (website: OpenTheBooks.com) was able to identify that number. We found nearly $27 billion ($26.74 billion to be exact) in federal funding (FY2016) for America’s 106 Sanctuary Cities. Our new report, “Federal Funding of America’s Sanctuary Cites” details federal grants and other forms of federal spending that flow to those cities.
Using our OpenTheBooks interactive map, search federal funding by city. Just click a pin and scroll down to review the municipal agencies and entities (FY2016).
Across America, there are over 300 governmental jurisdictions claiming "sanctuary status." Of those governments, there are 106 cities, while the rest are states, counties or other units of government.
Under Trump’s order, mayors defending their sanctuary city status 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.
Here are the top 10 takeaways from our findings:
- $26.741 billion in annual federal grants and direct payments flowed into America’s 106 sanctuary cities (FY2016).
- On average, the cost of lost federal funding for a family of four residing in one of the 106 sanctuary cities is $1,810 – or $454 per person. A total population of 46.2 million residents live in the 106 sanctuary cities according to census data.
- Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Illinois governments received the highest amount of federal funding per resident and, therefore, have the most to lose by maintaining their sanctuary status.Washington, D.C. municipal government received the highest amount of federal funding on a per capita basis: $3,228 per person; $12,912 per family of four; or $2.09 billion total. The City of Chicago, IL received the second highest amount of federal funding on a per capita basis: $1,942 per person; $7,768 per family of four; or $5.3 billion total.
- In cities with populations of 100,000 and above, the communities with the least per capita federal dollars ‘at risk’ are St. Paul, Minnesota ($47 per person, $14.2 million total); Downey, California ($36 per person, $4.2 million total) and Miami, Florida ($67 per person, $29.7 million total).
- $15.983 billion in federal funds flowed into just twelve major American cities where 1 in 5 illegal entrants reside (FY2016).
- Department of Justice grants to law enforcement – i.e. city police departments – totaled $543.97 million (FY2016). Typically, this funding was only a small percentage of the local law enforcement budgets.
- $4.23 billion in federal funding of the 106 sanctuary cities flowed via the ‘direct payment’ type. These payments funded municipal services such as housing, education, community development, and schools.
- $21.5 billion in federal funding of the 106 sanctuary cities flowed via the ‘grant’ payment mechanism. These payments funded local police and fire departments, schools, housing, and city services.
- In Los Angeles, fully 1 in 5 city residents (22-percent) are illegal entrants. However, the amount of federal funding amounts to only $126 per resident; $504 per family of four; or $502.5 million total.
- In Newark, New Jersey, 19-percent of city residents are undocumented entrants. However, the amount of federal funding amounts to $733 per resident; $2,932 per family of four; or $206.7 million.
The threat of losing nearly $27 billion in federal funding seems to be having an effect on some cities. In fact, Miami already reversed their sanctuary city policy.