The Sanctuary for Americans First Enacted (SAFE) Agreements were signed with Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Texas and the sheriff’s department in Rockingham County in North Carolina in the late January before the Biden administration took control of the government. In total, nine agreements were signed by DHS. [1]

The agreements includes Homeland Security, the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs (ICE) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the states and municipalities that signed the agreement. [2]

According to the agreements, changes to immigration policies causes “increasing the rate of crime, consumption of public benefits and services,” and “adds strain upon the healthcare system.” The agreements also state that changes to immigration policies results in “increased economic competition” to members of the community. [2]

In other words, immigrants take American jobs.

Some of the examples of the types of changes to immigration policy include “a decrease of any immigration enforcement policies,” “a decrease or pause on returns or removals of removable or inadmissible aliens, “an increase in releases from detention” and “changes to immigration benefits or eligibility, including work authorization, discretionary actions, or discretionary decisions.” [2]

The agreements also note that changes to the “rules, policies, procedures, and decisions that could result in significant increases to the number of people residing in a community.” [2]

The agreements add that recognizing that “DHS relies on cooperation” with the signers “to carry out DHS’s immigration enforcement actions” required the immigration agency to create a “binding and enforceable commitment” between DHS and the jurisdictions. [2]

The agreements also list 10 items that DHS is obliged to consider the views of the jurisdictions before enacting the changes. Among the ten times are “reduce, redirect, reprioritize, relax in any way modify immigration enforcement,” and “decrease the number of, apprehensions or administrative arrests” of immigrants. [2]

The agreements commit DHS to provide the jurisdictions who signed the agreement “with 180 days’ written notice” giving the signatories the “opportunity to consult and comment” before enacting the proposed policy change. [2]

The agreement can be terminated by either the jurisdiction or DHS 180 days after a termination notice is given by either party. [2]

To terminate the agreements, the Biden administration must notify the jurisdictions who signed the agreements and wait 180 days before terminating them. [2]

The agreements were signed by Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, as “Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary” of DHS. [2]

Cuccinelli’s appointment in June 2019 by Donald Trump as the director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services was controversial because he was unlikely to be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. On March 1, 2020 U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss ruled that Cuccinelli was not legally appointed and lacked authority. [3]

Cuccinelli remains the Acting Deputy Secretary of DHS today.

On January 22, 2021, the State of Texas sued the Biden administration over Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton argued that Biden’s pause in deportations violated an agreement between Texas and DHS. [4]

The agreements not only spell out the mindset that immigration is bad for America but immigration officials are using them to stymie the Biden administration to make change to the immigration policy of the country.


  1. Elliot Spagat, “Trump agreements seek to tie Biden’s hands on immigration,” The Washington Post, January 25, 2021.
  2. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary, Sam Scott Page, Sheriff of Rockingham County, North Carolina, “Agreement Between The Department of Homeland Security and The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office,” signed on January 12, 2021.
  3. Nick Miroff, “Ken Cuccinelli’s appointment to top immigration job was unlawful, court rules, invalidating policy memos he signed,” The Washington Post, March 1, 2020.
  4. Julián Aguilar, “Ken Paxton files lawsuit challenging Biden administration’s pause on deportations,” The Texas Tribune, January 22, 2021.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...