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Attorney General Threatens to Punish San Bernardino, Stockton and Other ‘Sanctuary Cities’

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In another move to pressure cities into cooperating with immigration enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened Thursday to withhold crime-fighting help from four cities — including two in California — if they refuse to help federal agents target jail inmates suspected of being in the country illegally.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions holds a news conference at the Department of Justice July 20, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

But the decision to publicly question San Bernardino and Stockton as well as Baltimore and Albuquerque appeared poorly thought out. Perplexed officials in all four cities said they do not operate any jails. In two, officials said they have no sanctuary policies.

“The city of San Bernardino is not a sanctuary city,” Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in an interview. Asked why he thought the city had been singled out by the Department of Justice, Burguan replied, “You would have to ask DOJ.”

In a publicly released letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry pushed back, highlighting the agreement his police department has with immigration officials to screen people who are arrested.

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