A Case for a Sanctuary New Castle County

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“Sanctuary cities, counties or states” are those that enact statutes not requiring public officials, especially police, to report suspected undocumented immigrants to federal officials. This form of sanctuary pragmatically acts to afford greater personal freedom for undocumented immigrants because they can experience a significant degree of protection from being detained, incarcerated, processed, and potentially then deported (Cebula, 2015).

New Castle County Delaware USA

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New Castle County Delaware USA 39.612036, -75.643616

In 2017 and the five years that follow, New Castle County in Delaware must make both an ethical and economic decision whether to Join the Federal Government in its quest to Deport three million immigrants and open the door for more minority groups targeting like maintaining a registry for Muslims. New Castle County, should it decide to be a sanctuary county will be following in the States tradition of standing by a persecuted minority; Delaware was the first state to give the LGBT Community a haven and the country is right for it.

Secondly, The Delaware Senate Bill 59 was passed by the 148th General Assembly in June 2015. The Bill authorizes and allows the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue a Driving Privilege Card (DPC) to undocumented Delaware residents of any nationality. Although the DPC is NOT considered a valid form of identification, it gives undocumented residents the freedom to drive in the state, it is, however, regarded as a valid driver license that the Delaware DMV issues for driving purposes only within the state of Delaware. The DPC is only available to foreign Delaware residents who are unable to produce legal presence within the United States and meet certain eligibility requirements (DE-DMV, 2016). New Castle County becoming a sanctuary county will only make the residents more free and productive.
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In the County Executive – Elect’s Public Safety campaign policy, we have read and seen the real challenges the county faces. None of the problems results from immigrants or Muslims. The biggest challenges that come from gun related violent crime and heroin addiction. Drawing very from the campaign policy, we summarize the problems and the probable solutions (Meyer, 2016).

The New Castle County police does an outstanding job and often an extraordinary job, immigration enforcement should not be one of them. As the equipment and technology of policing have changed, the county police department continues to grow and change in ways that make the county safe. The NCPD should continue to receive the finest equipment and technology so that it can pursue its operations. When 14 and 15 year old children are shooting guns at each other, we cannot blame the police (Meyer, 2016).

The county though is at risk of losing an entire generation of children to crime, violence, and drugs, in certain neighborhoods of Wilmington, New Castle, Bear and across our county (Meyer, 2016). A comprehensive community response, a smarter understanding of those who seek to turn certain neighborhoods in our county into centers of violence is required. Secondly, we need to develop policy that ultimately provides the perpetrators of violence alternatives to violence. This must be a collaborative and comprehensive effort, focused on providing intensive educational, spiritual, psychological, career training support to those with the highest risk characteristics.

The county should establish a system of early identification of high risk individuals, and creative engagement for those at the greatest danger. One that has improved police-community relations, career opportunities for those with criminal records, the Age Zero Initiative, and better inter-governmental collaboration. Lastly, the county should begin to reverse the spike in shootings and homicides across our county and create safer neighborhoods to live, work and raise a family.

Who are the high-risk individuals, are they Muslims? Undocumented Immigrants? Latinos?  Mexicans?

The answer to the above rhetoric question is NO!  People may want to scapegoat those they don’t know or don’t understand, but Muslims and immigrants, documented or not do not contribute to the county’s gun violence. Risk factors for individuals that are likely to commit firearm violence in New Castle County, based on CDC identified  risk factors (Meyer, 2016),

  1. A prior history of violence,
  2. A visit to the emergency room for a gunshot or stab wound,
  3. Unemployment and
  4. Receiving governmental assistance.
  5. Between 17 and 24 of age,
  6. Who have already been involved in violent crime and
  7. Have been incarcerated, either as juveniles or adults.

These factors preclude any undocumented immigrant because any contact with the police due to violence will trigger immigration status search since that provides probable cause for a felony. We are not advocating sanctuary county for violent criminals, just for contributing members of society who happen to have not documentation.
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 Solutions – Is one of the solution deportation of immigrants or registration of Muslims?

The solutions to the public safety challenges in new Castle County do not arise from ethnic cleansing nor to the challenges come from the diversity of the population. The following are the solutions proposed by Matt Meyer when campaigning; no mention is made of immigration or immigrants because they do cause any out of the ordinary challenges (Meyer, 2016). To put the County population in perspective, as of 1st July 2015; the population was 556,779 as per the US Census Bureau (US Census, 2016). The population was broken down to 66% White, 25% Black, 9.5% Hispanic and 5.4% Asian. Only 10% of the total population was foreign born (55,678) (US Census, 2016). This population breakdown shows that immigration is not a hot button issue and undocumented immigrants are not where the county need to put its scarce resources either alone or in partnership with the federal government.

The county government should make it a priority to collaborate with federal, state and local officials, along with area hospitals, to equip emergency rooms to connect patients to excellent non-medical services to assist individuals who visit an emergency room and have a history of high risk behavior (Meyer, 2016).

Secondly, considering the police are not equipped to go into communities to prevent violence proactively, the county should establish a place for mothers and other relatives to call that will trigger intensive anti-violence intervention when they have information that someone could get hurt (Meyer, 2016).

The county should hire and empower more  “violence interrupters,” individuals with street credibility who establish relationships with local youths known to be at the highest risk of committing firearm violence (Meyer, 2016). The county should collaborate with state and federal sources to strengthen the program’s administration and its collection and analysis of data and expand its hours of operations (Meyer, 2016).

The Delaware federal delegation, the state, the county, the cities and towns and non-private and corporate partners should increasing collaborate to find the financial resources and seek creative funding solutions to expand youth opportunities. Kids everywhere in our county should have places to learn, swim and program computers. They should have those opportunities during the times when data shows us violence is most likely to occur (Meyer, 2016).

To earn the trust of our county’s communities, our police force needs to reflect the diversity of the communities that it protects. New Castle County is fortunate to have such a diverse population- but our county leadership does not appear to be focused on increasing diversity within the County Police force. Place a greater emphasis on recruiting classes that look like New Castle County.
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Education in the Police Force

 tudies have found that officers with college educations tend to demonstrate professional attitudes, liberal views, independent thinking, strong ethics, good written and oral communication, problem-solving abilities, flexibility, self-confidence, motivation, discipline, and public relations skills. For police departments, these traits result in numerous positive outcomes, including fewer injuries, disciplinary problems, preventable accidents, sick days, and citizen complaints (Meyer, 2016). New Castle County Police recently dropped its requirement of a college degree for new police recruits. This is a grievous mistake, and will inevitably lead to a diminishment of the quality of the police force (Meyer, 2016). A less educated police force combined with a less diverse police force does not create a formula for success in an increasing diverse population.

Cebula (2015) found that the state-level settlement pattern of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of 2010 was a growing function of per capita personal income while being a decreasing function of the cost of living, colder climate and greater humidity. Also, the state-level settlement pattern of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of 2010 was an increasing function of the number of Sanctuary cities in each state (Cebula, 2015). It was not where they can commit crime or get public assistance. Pourat et al. (2014) found that undocumented immigrants in California, and the uninsured among them, had fewer or similar numbers of doctor visits, ED visits, and preventive services use compared to US citizens and other immigrant groups. Their finding confirms a well held belief that undocumented immigrants contribute to the societies they settle in and that they are not a burden.

Pourat et al. concluded that allowing undocumented immigrants to purchase insurance in the Marketplaces and ensuring receipt of low-cost preventive services can contribute to lower premiums and reduce resource strains on safety-net providers (Pourat, Wallace, Hadler, & Ponce, 2014). This same conclusion will mean that allowing undocumented immigrants a sanctuary status in New Castle County will be a none zero sum game for everyone. Bringing undocumented immigrants into health insurance Marketplaces and expanding their coverage through local initiatives would benefit undocumented residents and the safety net, with a greater impact in states such as California, where more significant numbers of undocumented immigrants reside (Pourat et al., 2014).


Cebula, R. J. (2015). Give me sanctuary! The impact of personal freedom afforded by sanctuary cities on the 2010 undocumented immigrant settlement pattern within the U.S., 2SLS estimates. Journal of Economics and Finance, 40(4), 12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12197-015-9333-7

Meyer, M. (2016). Blueprint to Improve Public Safety in New Castle County.

Pourat, N., Wallace, S. P., Hadler, M. W., & Ponce, N. (2014). Assessing health care services used by California’s undocumented immigrant population in 2010. Health Affairs, 34(5), 840–847. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0615

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