New York City has been named the "worst" sanctuary city in the U.S. by a hawkish immigration group, just as the Big Apple’s mayor continues to feud with the governor of Texas over the busing of migrants into the city.

The Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), published its list of "worst" sanctuary jurisdictions on Tuesday, and put New York City at the top.

"Sanctuary" jurisdictions are those that bar local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration agencies. Such cities and states will typically also move to abolish any distinction between legal and illegal immigration.

IRLI says that New York has "doubled down" on its sanctuary policies to go from second in the rankings in 2019 to top spot. It cited New York City Council’s passing of legislation granting noncitizens the right to vote in local elections, the banning of the use of "illegal alien" and the release of thousands of criminal illegal immigrants back onto its streets.


New York City

The Empire State Building towers above other office buildings on March 4, 2021, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Behind New York City in the rankings was Los Angeles in second place, followed by Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Seattle. Behind them were Wake County in North Carolina, Middlesex County in New Jersey and Portland, Oregon.

"These communities have earned their places on this list because of incredibly poor leadership at the city, county and state levels," Dale Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director and general counsel, said in a statement. "Data overwhelmingly shows that sanctuary policies lead to more crime, fear and death. The leaders of these communities should not escape accountability for the damage they have caused. Their residents deserve much more."

Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director Tom Homan, also an IRLI senior fellow, says that sanctuary policies only provide sanctuary to criminals.


"Immigrant communities don’t want criminals in their neighborhoods either. Victims and witnesses of crime don’t want the offender back in their communities to seek revenge," he said. "All communities deserve protection from criminals but sanctuary policies put immigrant communities at greater risk of crime."

Supporters of sanctuary cities say they allow illegal immigrants to get the services they need without fear, and encourage them to cooperate with law enforcement on other matters without fearing deportation. Opponents say it allows for the release of criminals onto the streets who would otherwise be removed from the country.

The ranking comes as Mayor Eric Adams, who has backed New York City’s sanctuary city status, has called for federal help after Texas has started busing a few thousand migrants to the city’s Port Authority. Adams recently said that 4,000 migrants have entered the city’s homeless system in recent months.

"We just need help. We need help," Adams said in a press conference last week, calling for federal aid including from FEMA.

He’s also blasted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on multiple occasions:

"He is an anti-American governor that is really going against everything we stand for," he said about Abbott Thursday. "And I am going to do everything feasible to make sure the people of Texas realize how harmful he is to us globally." 


Abbott has pointed to New York City’s sanctuary status as a reason for why the migrants are being sent there and has noted that the numbers are a fraction of the massive numbers encountered at the border.

"If the mayors of America’s most populous city and the nation’s capital are complaining about a few thousand migrants, imagine what these small border communities with more limited resources face on the frontlines," Abbott said in a recent piece for Fox News Opinion.