I fully support the Tucson Families Free and Together Ordinance based on research I have conducted as a sociologist. Though I am affiliated with the University of Arizona, the views expressed herein are my own and do not represent those of the University, nor did I use University time or resources in writing this argument.

While some public officials oppose “sanctuary” ordinances on the assumption that they undermine public safety, there is no evidence that these policies are associated with crime. On the contrary, they may actually promote public safety. I recently co-authored an article in Justice Quarterly that examined the relationship between sanctuary ordinances and violence. Drawing on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, and using longitudinal statistical methods, we examined violent crime trends before and after the adoption of sanctuary ordinances in 107 US cities between 1990 and 2010. Our analyses found that robbery incidents actually declined within cities after the implementation of sanctuary policies. We found no connection between these policies and homicide.

Our findings are consistent with those from other studies. There is a growing consensus in the literature, based on empirical data, that sanctuary ordinances do not lead to higher rates of violent or property crime. In fact, this body of work, using distinct data sources and analytic techniques, has found either no relationship or a negative relationship between the two.

Sanctuary ordinances, however, do effectively reduce the fear of deportation in immigrant communities thereby (1) fostering positive community-police relations, (2) encouraging cooperation with law enforcement investigations, and (3) increasing people’s willingness to report crime victimization to authorities. These outcomes are crucial for improving general public safety.

Please join me and vote YES for the Tucson Free and Together Ordinance.

Daniel E. Martínez, Assistant Professor, University of Arizona