AP NEWS

DOJ: Bernalillo County must hand over immigration data

January 24, 2018

File - In this Sept. 5, 2017 file photo, Albuquerque High School students rally outside of campus on in Albuquerque, N.M., after walking out of class to protest the Trump's administration's decision to end Obama-era immigrant protections. The U.S. Justice Department is including New Mexico's most populous county in an effort to pressure cities to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Bernalillo County was one of roughly two dozen jurisdictions to receive warning letters Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, from the Justice Department. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is including New Mexico’s most populous county in an effort to pressure cities to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Bernalillo County was one of roughly two dozen jurisdictions to receive warning letters Wednesday from the Justice Department. Federal officials are threatening to issue subpoenas to jurisdictions that aren’t relinquishing documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.

The department has repeatedly threatened to deny millions of dollars in important grant money from communities that refuse to share such information with federal authorities.

Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners chair Steven Michael Quezada says the county won’t be intimidated by the letter.

He says the federal government can keep its money for a border wall “that won’t work” and the county will figure out how to fund its sheriff’s department.

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