Sanctuary Jurisdictions: What You Need to Know about Executive Order 13768

written by Kathryn Monet
February 17, 2017

Executive Order 13768 has led to much confusion about what it means for cities, counties, and states that may be considered sanctuary jurisdictions. While we are not immigration law experts here at the Alliance, we are sharing what we do know to inform ongoing conversations at the local level.

The executive order could lead to a loss of federal grant funding for sanctuary jurisdictions. It indicates that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to share citizenship or immigration status information with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, with the exception of funding necessary for law enforcement purposes. The exact language is:

“…jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary [of Homeland Security]. The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction.”

What would this mean for funding?

Little has been said about the implementation of this provision, but effects could range from limited funding:

  • From the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security; to
  • For all federal discretionary grant programs; to
  • For all federal grant programs, whether discretionary or formula-driven.

In practical terms, this could include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Emergency Solutions Grants, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families grants, the U.S. Department of Justice’s housing grants for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and potentially others.

This broader interpretation might also apply to funding from other grants open to nonprofits and local/state governments if a local/state government is the grantee. This could include programs like the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Grant and Per Diem program and Supportive Services for Veteran Families grants and if a local/state government is the grantee. We won’t know the full scope of this until the Administration clarifies this further.

If the current Administration begins aggressive enforcement of this executive order, we will need your help to understand how these issues impact the vulnerable people in your community, what you're doing about it, and how the issues above would affect your work. Be in touch, we're always happy to help.

For more detailed information on this, please see our Fact Sheet.