Sanctuary review finds Clark County in compliance with immigration law

ABQ Mayor Berry to Jeff Sessions: Albuquerque is not a sanctuary city

In a Journal interview this afternoon, Berry said Albuquerque shed its status as a sanctuary city in 2010 - a year after he took office - and that Sessions' scrutiny may be better directed at the Bernalillo County Detention Center, as the city of Albuquerque does not have a jail.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry on Thursday rejected U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' characterization of Albuquerque as a sanctuary city and said it's the federal government's job to enforce immigration laws, not the responsibility of local police jurisdictions. Cities and counties across New Mexico, including Albuquerque - and many across the country - do not have such policies in place.

Cities that want to participate in the program, which launched in June, must allow federal immigration authorities into their facilities to question people suspected of being in the country illegally. The Justice Department's letters focus on giving federal immigration agents access to such detention facilities. The attorney general has repeatedly vowed to withhold federal money from cities that do not cooperate, similar to how previous administrations have held back highway funds during debates over the speed limit and drinking age.

A spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services said in an email that authorities notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after arrests and inform federal authorities when detainees are scheduled to be released. Stockton and San Bernardino were not the only cities that received that letter from the DOJ, Albuquerque and Baltimore also received a letter. "Our policies have been very, very consistent over the years".

"That does not mean we don't work with our other federal partners, but that is just not a function of ours", he said.

Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a statement Thursday that Baltimore "is a welcoming city" and while his officers will honor arrest warrants issued by federal agents, they don't "ask people questions about their immigration status". Those cities also responded that they are not sanctuary cities nor do they run their own jails.

"We are receiving tremendous federal support for the violence-reduction actions, and we wouldn't want anything to deter the progress we hope to make on that front", McCarthy said.

The Justice Department is stepping up pressure on four cities to cooperate with immigration enforcement, threatening to stop providing federal help to crack down on crime. Again, given that the City does not operate a jail facility, we do not meet the criteria set forth in the inquiry and we will be responding with that information to the Department of Justice in the coming days.

In Albuquerque, immigrant student activists said the letter was part of the Trump administration's broader attack on immigrants. All have applied for the Public Safety Partnership which provides training and technical assistance to cities where violent crime is a problem.



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