SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - San Bernardino is not a sanctuary city, but the Department of Justice is threatening to withhold federal crime-fighting money from it.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the following statement:
"By protecting criminals from immigration enforcement, cities and states with so-called 'sanctuary' policies make all of us less safe."
In a letter to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan, the department demanded proof that federal immigration authorities have the following:
- Access to detention facility to meet with detainees
- Provide 48 hours advanced notice of scheduled releases
- Honor written request to hold foreign nationals up to 48 hours beyond scheduled release
The police department responded that it's not a sanctuary city and it does not operate a jail facility. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department operates the jail.
But even that department would have a hard time complying, especially with one directive to hold undocumented inmates 48 hours after their release.
In February, Sheriff John McMahon addressed that issue in a YouTube video posted by the department.
"A couple of years ago a federal court decided that additional detention was a violation of the Fourth Amendment without some type of judicial review," he said.
None the less, the city could use the funds from the DOJ program as it struggles to curb violent crimes.
Stockton and San Bernardino were not the only cities that received that letter from the DOJ, Albuquerque and Baltimore also received a letter. Those cities also responded that they are not sanctuary cities nor do they run their own jails.
Local immigration activists called the letter the latest bullying tactic by the Trump administration.