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U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray’s Statement Regarding Sanctuary Cities

CONCORD- Yesterday, Attorney General William Barr addressed the dangers that sanctuary cities and sanctuary policies pose to the general public.In jurisdictions that have adopted these policies, local law enforcement officers are restrained from working with their federal law enforcement partners.The result is that federal law enforcement officers are hampered in their efforts to locate, arrest, and remove people who are in the United States illegally.This may include individuals who are actively engaged in criminal conduct.

Barr’s remarks resonate in New Hampshire, where the opioid crisis has been fueled by foreign drug cartels who exploit our citizens for the sake of making a profit.Their lethal drugs reach our state through a network of traffickers who often employ criminal aliens as dealers to sell drugs in our communities.To shield themselves from arrest, criminal aliens often reside outside of our state, sometimes living in sanctuary cities where they feel safe.

The highest obligation of the government is to protect its citizens, especially from victimization by criminals.This requires coordination on the part of law enforcement at all levels. When local communities adopt sanctuary policies, those policies can jeopardize public safety by preventing the federal government from arresting and prosecuting removable aliens.While reasonable people can debate the merits of various immigration policies, few would contest that those who commit serious criminal offenses while unlawfully inside this country should be prosecuted and then removed from the United States. When a sanctuary jurisdiction refuses to honor an immigration detainer and releases a felon onto the street, all of our citizens are endangered.These policies also endanger the brave law enforcement officers who must try to identify and arrest criminal aliens after they have been released by sanctuary cities.

Here in New Hampshire, we frequently prosecute criminals who are unlawfully in this country, including those who have taken up residency in sanctuary cities in other states.Many of these criminal aliens have distributed fentanyl, heroin, and other dangerous drugs, thereby causing great suffering. It is not uncommon to encounter criminal aliens who use fraudulent documents to mask their true identity and immigration status.If these criminals are released before they can be removed from the United States, it can be challenging to locate them again.Enforcing our laws is a complicated and difficult undertaking and sanctuary policies only make it more difficult to protect our citizens.

While New Hampshire has not been at the forefront of the sanctuary movement, it is important to realize that we are negatively impacted by the adoption of these policies in other states.The reality is that criminals can shelter behind sanctuary policies to the detriment of everyone else in society.This is especially true if you are an interstate drug dealer looking for a place to hide while hooking Granite Staters on your deadly product.