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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Attorney General William Barr Makes Announcement on Sanctuary Cities at National Sheriffs’ Association Conference

U.S. Attorney Dunavant Highlights the Work of Federal Law Enforcement to Successfully Prosecute Dangerous Criminal Aliens to Ensure the Safety of West Tennesseans

Memphis, TN – Attorney General William Barr has announced further actions the Department of Justice will take to protect the American people and allow for the proper and lawful functioning of our nation’s federal immigration system. Barr delivered remarks at the National Sheriffs’ Association Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., and announced the filings of lawsuits against various jurisdictions around the country, including the State of California, the State of New Jersey, and King County, Washington, alleging that the policies of these states and counties interfere with lawful federal immigration and enforcement activities and jeopardize public safety. Read more details here:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-sues-state-california-california-governor-and-california-attorney-general
https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-sues-state-new-jersey-new-jersey-governor-and-new-jersey-attorney-general
https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-sues-king-county-washington-and-king-county-executive-prohibiting-us

Attorney General Barr said: "Today is a significant escalation in the federal government’s efforts to confront the resistance of ‘sanctuary cities.’ But by no means do the efforts outlined above signify the culmination of our fight to ensure the rule of law, to defend the Constitution, and to keep Americans safe. We will consider taking action against any jurisdiction that, or any politician who, unlawfully obstructs the federal enforcement of immigration law." Read the Attorney General’s full remarks at this link: https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-remarks-national-sheriffs-association-winter. Sanctuary jurisdiction policies jeopardize public safety by preventing the federal government from locating, arresting, and prosecuting removable aliens inside the United States. While jurisdictions are not compelled by federal law to participate in federal immigration enforcement activities, they are not permitted to actively obstruct the enforcement of federal law.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said, "Our office actively partners with local, state and federal law enforcement across the district to help remove these violent and drug offenders from our communities. I support the actions of Attorney General Barr and join him in our quest to make America’ cities safer by the aggressive and unapologetic federal prosecution of dangerous criminal aliens."

"While the dangers to public safety as a result of sanctuary polices cannot be understated, Homeland Security Investigations in Tennessee is proud to work in cooperation with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure our communities remain safe," stated Jerry C. Templet Jr, Special Agent in Charge, Nashville, Tennessee.

Past examples of dangerous illegal aliens detained and prosecuted through this office include:

Argel Hernandez-Escobar, 32 – was indicted in December, 2019, for Unlawful Reentry Into the United States After Deportation and Illegal Possession of a Firearm Used in the fatal shooting of his minor child. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtn/pr/illegal-alien-indicted-unlawful-reentry-united-states-after-deportation-and-illegal.

Christino Alcazar-Ortiz, 37 and Armando Alcazar-Ortiz, 40, were both sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine and Illegal Reentry into the United States after having been previously deported. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtn/pr/two-illegal-aliens-sentenced-120-months-imprisonment-federal-drug-trafficking-charges.

• An illegal alien from Mexico, Jesus Vega, 38, was sentenced to over 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtn/pr/illegal-alien-sentenced-10-years-federal-prison-role-drug-trafficking-organization.

The Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated these cases.

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Contact: 
Cherri Green Public Affairs (901) 544-4231 Cherri.Green@usdoj.gov
Updated February 11, 2020