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No One Agrees on the Map of Sanctuary States. We Made One Anyway.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrest an undocumented Mexican immigrant during a raid in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in April of 2018.

Florida will likely pass what many call an “anti-sanctuary” bill this week: The bill, bitterly battled over in the state’s legislature, will make it illegal for Florida police officers not to cooperate with with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will inflict penalties—including removal from office—on any officials who enacts sanctuary-city policies.

With Florida poised to become the latest state to enact a state-wide legislation on sanctuary policies, we set out to make a map of states that have similar anti-sanctuary laws, as well as states that have declared themselves “sanctuaries.”

It proved harder than you might think. While the notion of “sanctuary”—sanctuary cities, sanctuary counties, sanctuary states—appears in the news frequently, there’s no legal definition of, or widespread agreement on, what qualifies as one. And there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what sanctuary policies do.

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