clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How sanctuary cities actually work

We know Trump wants to defund them, but what exactly are they?

Video by Dara Lind and Liz Scheltens

We hear a lot about the policy debate over so-called “sanctuary cities,” and that information gets filtered through our political preferences. Our perception is that the leaders who run these municipalities are either flagrantly flouting federal law or offering much-needed refuge for one of the nation’s most marginalized groups.

But one thing that doesn’t come up all that much in these debates is an explanation of what exactly these sanctuary cities do. That’s what you’ll find in the video above. Although there’s no strict legal definition for what makes a place a sanctuary city or county, many of them have something in common: a desire to balance financial security with public safety.

Data for the map at 4:31 comes from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Further reading:

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.