WASHINGTON — The Latest on a letter from the Justice Department threatening to keep federal crime-fighting resources from cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities: (all times local):
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry is disputing a claim by the U.S. Justice Department that New Mexico’s largest city is a “sanctuary” for immigrants living in the country illegally.
The Republican mayor wrote to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Albuquerque has been trying to partner with federal immigration authorities, but ICE staffing levels fell in recent years.
The Department of Justice told Albuquerque and three other cities that they needed to comply with federal immigration enforcement requirements or risk federal law enforcement funding for a new program to fight increased crime.
But Berry says Albuquerque has been seeking to work with immigration authorities since he took office in 2009 and vehemently denied Albuquerque was a “sanctuary” city.
Berry says if Sessions had an issue with Bernalillo County jails, he needed to take those concerns to the county.
Baltimore officials say police won’t enforce immigration laws despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ threat to withhold federal funding for crime fighting unless they agree to cooperate.
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.”
Baltimore’s jails are run by the state, not the city.
The Justice Department sent letters to four cities telling them they will be ineligible for an anti-violence program if they don’t help detain and deport people in the country illegally. The cities — Baltimore, Albuquerque, and Stockton and San Bernardino, California — had expressed interest in the Public Safety Partnership. It offers agents, analysts and technology to find solutions to crime.