Sanctuary cities receive over $27 billion each year from the federal government, giving President Donald Trump significant leverage over cities such as New York and San Francisco to enforce immigration law, according to a new report.
OpenTheBooks.com identified 106 sanctuary cities in the United States in their oversight report, released Friday. In all, cities that ignore federal law by harboring illegal immigrants are receiving $27.741 billion in grants and direct payments in fiscal year 2016.
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Twenty-two percent of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States live in just 12 American cities, according to the report. Those cities, which include New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, received $15.983 billion in federal funds.
"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," OpenTheBooks.com said. "A total population of 46.2 million residents live in the 106 sanctuary cities according to census data."
The cities receiving the highest amount of federal funding per capita, which "have the most to lose by maintaining their sanctuary status," were Chicago and Washington, D.C., which received $5.3 billion and $2.09 billion, respectively.
The majority of federal funding went to local police and fire departments, schools, housing, and city services, via grants worth $21.5 billion. Another $4.23 billion in direct payments went towards housing, education, community development, and schools.
Los Angeles, where "fully 1 in 5 city residents are illegal entrants," received $502.5 million from the federal government. The report noted that more than half of the illegal immigrants living in the country reside in a sanctuary city.
The 12 cities with the most illegal immigrants and the federal funding received last fiscal year are: New York ($7.6 billion), Chicago ($5.3 billion), Philadelphia ($590 million), San Francisco ($509 million), Los Angeles ($502 million), Seattle ($284 million), Providence ($235 million), Denver ($227 million), Austin ($207 million), Newark ($207 million), Portland ($174 million), and Minneapolis ($118 million).
Trump signed an executive order last Wednesday declaring jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with the federal government on enforcing immigration law will not be eligible to receive federal grants.
"Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States," the executive order signed by Trump stated. "These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic."
Responses have been mixed to the executive action, with some sanctuary cities willfully complying with Trump's order to enforce immigration laws, and others showing defiance.
Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez announced his county would comply and begin detaining illegal immigrants who are wanted by the federal government. Though Miami-Dade officials do not consider the county a sanctuary, they "declined to hold some 100 inmates wanted by the feds" last year, the Miami Herald reported.
Detaining the illegal immigrants would have only cost $52,000, a "relative drop in the bucket for a county with a total annual budget of $7 billion," the paper said. Now the county would lose millions because of Trump's order. OpenTheBooks.com revealed Miami itself collected $29.7 million from the federal government in fiscal year 2016.
San Francisco, on the other hand, responded to the order by filing a lawsuit against the federal government. The city's attorney called Trump's action to enforce existing immigration law "unconstitutional" and "un-American."
California lawmakers are considering declaring the entire state a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. One Democratic state senator said blocking local law enforcement from cooperating with the federal government on immigration enforcement would ensure that illegal immigrants who are "here for all the right reasons" can stay.