Police Chief Clarifies Brownsville’s Sanctuary City Label

6 years 11 months 4 weeks ago Friday, April 14 2017 Apr 14, 2017 April 14, 2017 7:35 PM April 14, 2017 in News

BROWNSVILLE - The Brownsville Police Department chief said Brownsville is being called a sanctuary city but that's not accurate.

There are web pages that are listing Brownsville as a sanctuary city. The Brownsville police chief says It's a loaded term.

It can suggest a city doesn't cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Brownsville Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said calling an area a sanctuary city isn't the right term for what his officers do within city limits.

"That's not the case in Brownsville," he said. "Brownsville police officers do not routinely enforce immigration law as part of their duties."

He went public on Facebook recently. He said his officers can and will contact federal immigration agencies in some cases.

"Contact them under certain circumstances. For example, you have a serious criminal, or you've conducted some kind of vice operation, and the persons caught up are here undocumented," the police chief said.

But he said it won't happen in all cases. He doesn't want people to fear coming forward.

"That people are going to be afraid to report crime to local law enforcement, and to cooperate as witnesses to crime. And that will then lead to exploitation, against the victims, by the perpetrators who threaten to expose them," he said.

Rodriguez sets a boundary between local and federal responsibility. He said Brownsville police cooperate.

"We support what their mission statement is, but their mission statement is different from our mission statement," he said.

His position, he said, is the best balance to keep Brownsville safe.

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