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Press Release

Statement by U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank Regarding Sanctuary Jurisdictions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine

In his speech today regarding so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, Attorney General Barr highlighted the dangers that sanctuary policies pose to public safety. Jurisdictions with these policies prevent or limit their law enforcement officials from working with their federal law enforcement partners. One way they do so is to refuse to honor detainers—formal requests to maintain custody of an alien for a limited period—issued by federal immigration officials for a removable alien in state or local custody following a criminal arrest. Another way is to prohibit state or local agencies from sharing information or otherwise cooperating with immigration officials.

Illegal aliens who commit crimes in this country and end up in state or local custody should not be able to avoid removal or other immigration consequences. Releasing criminal aliens in the face of immigration detainers imperils the public. Illegal alien criminals who have been released after law enforcement agencies have failed to honor detainers have gone on to commit additional crimes, including violent felonies. When state and local jurisdictions release criminal illegal aliens, immigration officials must locate and arrest them in the community rather than in the secure and controlled environment of a jail or prison.

Sanctuary policies prevent the collaboration and information-sharing among state, local, tribal and federal law enforcement officials that is critical to maintaining public safety. These misguided policies undermine the rule of law and endanger everyone.


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Craig M. Wolff
Assistant U.S. Attorney
(207) 780-3257

Updated February 10, 2020

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