The United States policies regarding undocumented immigrants only seem to become more unforgiving with time, and many people who call this country home worry that they’ll have to leave.
Several cities across the country are adopting sanctuary city policies. These cities work to protect their undocumented residents in the name of preserving human rights. If you or someone you love is an undocumented immigrant, an immigration lawyer can help you take advantage of these cities in Connecticut.
What Is a Sanctuary City?
A sanctuary city is any community with policies that limit its cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to protect undocumented immigrants.
These policies typically work to protect the confidentiality of the residents’ immigration status by preventing local law enforcement from inquiring about individuals’ citizenship status. However, there are limitations. When criminal activity occurs or an investigation is ongoing, local law enforcement may cooperate with immigration authorities.
If you need a sanctuary city’s protection or would like to turn your city into a sanctuary city, immigration legal services can help you determine your next steps.
What Are Connecticut’s Sanctuary Cities?
Connecticut has four official sanctuary cities:
- Hartford: Hartford’s policies state that local law enforcement won’t ask about immigration status when making an arrest.
- New Haven: New Haven specifically states that law enforcement won’t cooperate with ICE in many cases.
- New London: New London’s policy directly fights against racial profiling by prohibiting law enforcement from questioning, arresting, or detaining individuals based on their race or perceived immigration status.
- Windham: Windham also has laws that prevent racial profiling while limiting involvement with immigration authorities.
If a law enforcement officer in these cities violates these policies, contact an immigration law firm to learn what your options are.
How Do Sanctuary Cities Work?
You might wonder how sanctuary cities actually operate in practice.
If a local law enforcement officer pulls you over for speeding, for example, they should not question your immigration status at any point. If they arrest you for a more serious offense, they will need to take your fingerprints.
Since ICE has access to all fingerprints in the FBI database, they can identify if you’re undocumented. They may request that the jail detain you while seeking a warrant. Sanctuary cities protect you by preventing their officers from cooperating with this request. Instead, they may release you once they drop the charges or you make bail. However, they may comply with requests in cases of security threats.
Additionally, Connecticut passed a bill that prohibits the use of state resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Overall, sanctuary cities limit their involvement with ICE to protect their immigrant residents. An immigration lawyer can help you if you need further protection.
How Do Sanctuary Cities Help Immigrants?
Sanctuary cities have social and economic benefits for immigrants. The most obvious benefit is that these policies protect immigrants from invasive questions about their status or similar measures that could otherwise lead to their deportation.
These policies also give access to education, healthcare, and other benefits regardless of immigration status. This builds a stronger community focused on inclusion. On average, sanctuary cities have lower crime rates, too.
Residents and stakeholders of a community can directly influence whether or not their city adopts sanctuary city policies. For more guidance, contact an immigration attorney.
Seek Sanctuary With The Law Offices of James A. Welcome
Whether you live in a sanctuary city or not, The Law Offices of James A. Welcome can help. With decades of experience in immigration law, we serve immigrants across Connecticut. Call (203) 753-7300 today and schedule a free consultation with an immigration lawyer.