After days of criticizing “sanctuary cities” and claiming they give safe haven to criminals and terrorists, Fox News' Sean Hannity had little to say on the matter while interviewing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who enforced his own “sanctuary policies” during his eight years in office.
Following the July 1 shooting death of a San Francisco woman allegedly by an undocumented immigrant, conservative media reignited a debate on so-called “sanctuary cities,” which limit local police enforcement of federal immigration laws. Hannity made his views known by declaring such cities dangerous safe havens for criminals and terrorists.
But then, on the July 8 edition of his show, Hannity hosted former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to discuss “sanctuary cities” and the unsubstantiated claim that undocumented immigrants, in general, engage in a wide range of criminal activity. Giuliani explained that New York City's “sanctuary city” policy -- which he admitted he helped develop -- was adopted as a way to reduce crime by focusing on immigrant criminals instead of undocumented crime victims who aid police, children whose parents may be undocumented, or people seeking emergency hospital treatment. Guiliani described his city's policy as one of “don't ask.” Hannity's only comment was to agree that not deporting undocumented residents who help with police investigations “makes sense” before he refocused the conversation on undocumented criminals. He neither refuted nor criticized Guiliani's explanation of the valid reasons to establish “sanctuary cities.” Watch:
While Guiliani attempted to distance New York's policy from that of San Francisco, the fact is that New York's policy is nearly identical to San Francisco's and other “sanctuary cities'.” As FactCheck.org pointed out after Guiliani attempted to claim that New York was never a “sanctuary city,” cities like Seattle and San Francisco have similar “sanctuary policies” but if someone commits a crime, “then, in virtually all these localities and states, you're no longer protected or insulated”:
New York's executive order, first issued in 1989 and later renewed by Giuliani, called for local-federal cooperation in cases of suspected criminal activity and also allowed city employees to talk to federal agencies about an immigrant when it was “required by law.” Other cities on CRS' list have similar requirements. San Francisco, for instance, which declares itself “a City and County of Refuge,” permits cooperation between law enforcement and federal authorities if an immigrant is arrested on felony charges or has been previously convicted of a felony. Seattle's policy says: “Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to prohibit any Seattle city officer or employee from cooperating with federal immigration authorities as required by law.” Police may also ask about immigration status if an officer believes a felony suspect previously may have been deported.
“There are different levels of detail in the policies. There are different goals in the policies,” says Marshall Fitz of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “But for the most part, I think they are designed to provide a comfort level to immigrants that the police are, unless you're engaged in a crime, the police are not immigration agents. ... If you commit a crime ... well then, in virtually all of these localities and states, you're no longer protected or insulated.”
San Francisco and other “sanctuary cities” -- like New York, which under Guiliani attempted to sue the federal government to ensure its sanctuary policies were not dismantled by federal legislation -- have been found to be in accordance with all federal and state laws. In addition, as the Congressional Research Service has noted, as long as there is no specific policy banning the transfer of information from local authorities to federal immigration authorities, which don't collect such information -- or as Giuliani said, have a “don't ask” policy -- all “sanctuary cities” are in accordance with federal law and legal precedence.