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Updated: DOJ Threatens ABQ, Sanctuary Cities With Loss Of Federal Funds

Updated: DOJ Threatens ABQ, Sanctuary Cities With Loss Of Federal Funds

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened Albuquerque and three other so-called sanctuary cities with the loss of federal crime-fighting funds.

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham Criticizes Move To Punish Albuquerque

The Associated Press reported Thursday that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to punish four so-called sanctuary cities, including Albuquerque, by threatening to deny federal crime-fighting resources to  the cities if they don’t step up efforts to help detain and deport people living in the country illegally.

The Justice Department sent letters to the cities – Albuquerque, Baltimore and Stockton and San Bernardino in California – telling them they will be ineligible for a new program that aims to root out drug trafficking and gang crime unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice before releasing someone in custody who is wanted on immigration violations, the AP reported.

The AP quoted Sessions as saying in a statement accompanying the letters, “By taking simple, common sense considerations into account, we are encouraging every jurisdiction in this country to cooperate with federal law enforcement. That will ultimately make all of us safer — especially law enforcement on our streets.”

In the letters, the department asked the four prospective cities’ police departments to show proof of their compliance by Aug. 18, the AP said.

The AP’s story added: “The threat marks Sessions’ latest effort to force local authorities to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, part of a push to reduce crime he believes is linked to illegal immigration.”

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham criticized Session’s threats in a statement:

The DOJ, in a letter to Police Chief Gorden Eden, concluded that APD is eligible to receive federal funding under a new Public Safety Partnership program to help communities address violent crime. However, the DOJ also raised several questions about APD’s approach to crime related to illegal immigration.

 “This political directive from the Department of Justice threatens to make cities like Albuquerque less safe by forcing local police officers to do the work of federal immigration agents,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. Albuquerque’s police force is chronically understaffed, and officers are already working overtime to combat violent crime in our community.

“Our local law enforcement is better equipped to target street crime. We should support those efforts with more resources, not threats to withhold federal funding.”

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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