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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

Monday, February 10, 2020

U.S. Attorney Highlights Danger of Sanctuary Laws; Urges Change to Enhance Public Safety

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – February 10, 2020

SAN DIEGO – U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer today called for an end to “Sanctuary City” laws, saying the state statute prohibiting local law enforcement officials from sharing information with federal counterparts about dangerous criminals has made our communities less safe.  

California Senate Bill 54 largely restricts local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The law generally prohibits state and local authorities from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, detaining them based on a “detainer” request from immigration authorities, and providing information about an undocumented criminal’s release date or other personal information, such as address information that could be used to locate someone potentially subject to deportation or removal.  The law does provide for some exceptions for individuals convicted of certain crimes.  

“The law’s prohibition against local law enforcement cooperating with their federal counterparts is inconsistent with their shared mission to protect the public above all else,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer.  “The law not only results in the release of individuals who may pose a threat to the safety of our communities, but it also increases the risk for law enforcement.”

Brewer continued: “Any time a detainer is not honored or the sharing of information about individuals in police custody is prohibited, our local law enforcement officers and our communities are put in danger unnecessarily. For instance, the prohibition on honoring detainers necessarily means that rather than taking custody of someone from a local jail, law enforcement must arrest that person in the community, which presents more risk to both our citizens and our officers.” 

In San Diego County recently, the Sheriff’s Department was unable to notify immigration authorities when illegal immigrants were released on bond following arrests for  possession of methamphetamine, drunken driving and carrying a concealed weapon.

“Our No. 1 priority is to protect the public, but sanctuary laws prevent us from doing that to the best of our ability,” Brewer said. “We have an excellent relationship with our local law enforcement partners, but, dangerously, this law ties their hands. Sanctuary laws jeopardize public safety by preventing the federal government from locating, arresting, and prosecuting removable aliens inside the United States.”

“While we value our relationships with our local law enforcement partners in San Diego, it is important to remind the public of the serious threat that dangerous state sanctuary laws pose on public safety in our communities,” said Gregory Archambeault, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Office Director in San Diego. “Currently the state sanctuary laws allow criminals to be released to the street and commit more crimes, which increases the threat to public safety, national security and the safety of our community.  It would be much safer if ICE were able to transfer the criminals while they are inside the county jail.”





Press Release Number: 
Updated February 10, 2020