Bernalillo County was one of 23 jurisdictions across the country that received letters from the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday asking for the county to turn over policies related to immigration enforcement.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has threatened a lawsuit against the federal government on the matter, arguing that the Trump administration is overstepping its bounds.
President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday escalated its battle with "sanctuary cities" that protect illegal immigrants from deportation, demanding documents on whether local law enforcement agencies are illegally withholding information from USA immigration authorities. Last year, Sessions revised the eligibility guidelines for Byrne criminal justice grants, requiring applicants to honor federal immigration detention requests, give immigration agents unfettered access to local jails, and comply with Section 1373.
Chicago; Cook County, Ill.; New York City; the state of California; Albany, N.Y.; Berkeley, Calif.; Bernalillo County, N.M.; Burlington, Vt.; the city and county of Denver, Colo.; Fremont, Calif.; Jackson, Miss.; King County, Wash.; Lawrence, Mass.; City of Los Angeles, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Monterey County, Calif.; Sacramento County, Calif.; the city and county of San Francisco; Sonoma County, Calif.; Watsonville, Calif.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; the state of IL and the state of Oregon.
The DOJ warned the cities they could be legally forced to prove they are cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
Adler said officials remained "concerned" that her "jurisdiction's laws, policies, or practices may violate section 1373, or, at a minimum, that they may be interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with section 1373". A federal judge in Philadelphia also ruled that city was in compliance with the law and blocked the Justice Department from withholding money. As president, he has sought to step up arrests of illegal immigrants, rescinded protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought into the country illegally as children and issued orders blocking entry of people from several Muslim-majority countries.
The Board of State and Community Corrections received a letter - the only California statewide agency on the list. Failure to comply could result in losing their justice assistance grant funding. The BSCC was awarded the most state-level Byrne JAG funding in 2016 - $18,244,126, according to U.S.
Some cities have said compliance as described by the Justice department is not required under the law at issue and that they will honor requests from immigration authorities when accompanied by a criminal warrant. "The [California] Attorney General fully expects to prevail in our pending litigation over the federal government's overbroad interpretation of the law".
Numerous jurisdictions have said they already are in full compliance with the law.
"San Francisco is proud to be a sanctuary city", Herrera said. Civil liberties and immigration advocates, too, note there is irony in Sessions threatening to withhold law enforcement grants in the name of fighting crime. What the law requires is narrow, and San Francisco follows the law.
"The Trump administration's decision to threaten mayors and demonize immigrants yet again - and use cities as political props in the process - has made this meeting untenable", New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a written statement.
When asked how this might affect the administration's relationship with mayors of large cities when it comes to other policy issues like infrastructure, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders maintained the White House does not support sanctuary cities.
The action prompted quick and harsh protests from local officials, including the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors who said he would not attend a previously scheduled Wednesday meeting at the White House. See all 23 letters here.