The City of Boulder, Colorado has sometimes attracted headlines as a center of tech development and innovation. During the first week in January, the municipal government launched the community into the forefront of a hotly debated national issue. The actions of the City Council could result in Boulder becoming a test case for incoming President Trump. Will he act on his campaign promises to defund so-called “sanctuary cities” which openly refuse to comply with federal immigration law?


Reportedly, in the past Boulder’s city government quietly adhered to a de facto sanctuary city policy by declining to question or detain anyone solely on the basis of immigration status. Federal laws do not permit citizens of other nations to enter the United States without complying with passport requirements and other immigration regulations. Yet many cities around the United States today refuse to assist the federal government in enforcing immigration statutes.


On January 3, 2016, the Boulder City Council declared Boulder a “Sanctuary City” by a unanimous vote. Their decision could place the community at high risk of losing federal funding after President-Elect Trump’s Inauguration later this month. The Mayor, Suzanne Jones, told reporters the Council acted to “reassure” people in the community. As a result of the vote, the City will no longer permit any of its employees to inquire about anyone’s immigration status.


The Daily Camera newspaper claims the City receives about $8 million from the U.S. government annually, possibly a conservative estimate. If the Trump Administration does decide to cut off the flow of funding to self-proclaimed sanctuary cities, Boulder residents may soon discover themselves paying higher taxes and city fees in order to cover the shortfall. Executive Budget Officer Peggy Bunzli indicated she did not believe a discontinuation of federal funding would prove an insurmountable financial setback.