Last updated on: 5/16/2024 | Author:

Should Sanctuary Cities Receive Federal Funding?

While there is no official legal definition of “sanctuary city,” the term generally refers to towns, cities, or counties that decline to cooperate completely with federal detention requests related to undocumented immigrants, often with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Some argue that sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, New York, and Chicago should not receive federal funding because they are not enforcing federal immigration laws. Others say that sanctuary city policies protect both citizens and undocumented immigrants. For more on sanctuary cities, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)


Joe Biden:

Editors’ Note: Biden issued an executive order on Jan. 20, 2021, reversing the Trump executive order banning santuary cities from receiving federal funding. In 2023, in response to an influx of undocumented immigrants bussed to sanctuary cities by border states, “The Biden administration has set aside $770 million for New York, Chicago, Denver, Boston and other cities, both in the interior and along the southern border, this fiscal year through Federal Emergency Management Agency programs for entities supporting migrants. The administration recently asked Congress to authorize $600 million in additional funds,” according to journalist Camilo Montoya-Galvez.


Sources for Editors’ Note: Federal Register, “Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities,”, Jan. 20, 2021
Camilo Montoya-Galvez, “As Cities Struggle to House Migrants, Biden Administration Resists Proposals That Officials Say Could Help,”, Aug. 22, 2023

CON (no)


Donald Trump:

“Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic….

It is the policy of the executive branch to: …Ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law.”


Trump White House Archives, “Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,”, Jan. 25, 2017

Not Clear or Not Found

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

“The idea of sanctuary cities was to protect immigrants from ICE raids. But no city can manage endless floods of migrants pouring through an open border.”


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “Biden’s Border Policies Have Made Every U.S. City a ‘Border Town’ | Opinion,”, Sep. 22, 2023