Alyssa Garcia


This Comment explores the current constitutional discourse of sanctuary laws and compares their various components. Part I provides background on the basic policy components of sanctuary laws and modern policies. Part II explores and compares the substantive legal and political value of sanctuary laws. This section will first assess the impact of sanctuary policies on existing immigration and constitutional law. In doing so, specific sanctuary jurisdictions involved in litigation, Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago, and their likelihood of withstanding preemption under existing doctrine will be compared. The impact sanctuary laws may have on the Tenth Amendment will next be discussed. Second, the political impacts of sanctuary laws will be discussed, exploring whether they serve as simple assertions of preexisting state powers or impactful legal doctrines. This dichotomy of interpretation will reveal that sanctuary laws are unlikely to yield any substantive change to current legal doctrine and, instead, are more valuable as political symbols of local resistance. It is hoped that this Comment provides a beacon of clarity amongst a foggy, crowded coast of controversy, opinions, and debate to guide policymakers, future sanctuary jurisdictions, and the public towards understanding the role of these laws in our society.