Although sanctuary policies are illegal under Federal law, two states (Maine and New Mexico) and a multitude of cities and counties maintain policies that forbid officials from asking about a person’s immigration status or informing Federal immigration authorities about the presence of illegal aliens. These sanctuary policies may prevent police from inquiring about a person’s immigration status during the course of routine duties, or from stopping or detaining a person solely due to immigration status. They may also prevent state public assistance agencies and institutions of higher education from inquiring about an applicant’s immigration status in order to determine eligibility for public benefits. The resulting safe havens make it easier for illegal aliens, including criminal aliens, to live undetected in the United States.
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