Trump Links Opioid Abuse Crisis to Sanctuary Policies

March 31, 2018 Updated: September 28, 2018

President Donald Trump drew a connection between America’s opioid abuse crisis and sanctuary policies, in a weekly address given on March 31.

“Every day, an average of 116 Americans die from an opioid-related overdose,” Trump said. “This is a national crisis that demands immediate action.”

Trump pointed out that sanctuary policies lead to the release of criminal illegal aliens, including drug traffickers and dealers, into American communities. One of the most common sanctuary policies is to prohibit local police and courts from detaining illegal aliens once they are released from prison, a policy that effectively blocks immigration authorities from immediately taking them into custody for deportation.

“But if our brave federal agents are going to be successful in stopping this deadly epidemic, then we must stop lawless sanctuary cities,” Trump said. “Sanctuary cities release thousands of dangerous criminal aliens into our communities—including drug traffickers, drug dealers, and vicious gang members.”

As an example, Trump referred to the mayor of Oakland, California, who had warned illegal aliens about an upcoming immigration raid. Some of those who eluded capture that day had already committed crimes, he said.

Trump also slammed the governor of California for pardoning five criminal illegal aliens.

The president explained that the biggest heroin markets in the United States are in sanctuary cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver.

“More than 40 percent of heroin coming across the southern border is transported through California—a sanctuary state,” Trump said.

The president outlined his plan for battling the opioid epidemic, which includes reducing the drug supply and demand while increasing treatment for the addicted. But he added that sanctuary policies must be dealt with for the strategy to work.

“We want our cities to be safe havens for Americans, not criminal aliens,” Trump said. “It is time for Congress to cut off funds for sanctuary cities and to close the loopholes that allow drugs and criminals to violate our borders.”

The Trump administration ramped up pressure on sanctuary cities in March, when the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against California over its sanctuary policies. On March 26, attorney generals from 18 states filed a court brief supporting the lawsuit.

Hundreds of sheriffs also backed the move. The National Sheriff’s Association sent a letter (pdf) signed by 380 sheriffs from 40 states to all members of Congress on March 26.


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President Trump Links Sanctuary Policies to Opioid Crisis in Weekly Address

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