Sanctuary City Mayor Stands Up to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Leader's Threat

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan wants to charge sanctuary city politicians with the crimes committed by people residing in their cities illegally

Sure to not miss an opportunity, a local prankster quickly posted fake California highway signs, welcoming travelers to the sanctuary state of California, adding "felons, illegal and MS-13 Welcome!"

"California better hold on tight-they're about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers in the state of California", Homan said.

Sanctuary jurisdictions-cities, counties, and, now in California's case, even entire states-are places where law-enforcement agencies minimize their coöperation with federal immigration enforcement.

The Trump administration has repeatedly criticised sanctuary city policies, which allow local police and authorities to exercise discretion in response to federal immigration detainer requests when it comes to non-violent offenders.

While there's no strict legal definition a "sanctuary" city or state, Homan, who President Donald Trump has nominated to serve as ICE's formal director, was responding to California's SB54, which went into effect on January 1. Because if you think ICE is going away, we're not.

Mr Homan continued on to say that California Governor Jerry Brown, who signed a state-wide sanctuary bill a year ago, should expect more immigration agents in his state.

Jose Artica then age 19 of El Salvador is handcuffed and removed from a house in Alexandria Virginia in April 2007
Jose Artica then age 19 of El Salvador is handcuffed and removed from a house in Alexandria Virginia in April 2007

"We gotta take [sanctuary cities] to court, and we gotta start charging some of these politicians with crimes", Mr Homan said.

Steinberg was a large proponent of strengthening Sacramento as a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants and couldn't believe what he was hearing. For one, sanctuary cities do not block immigration officials from making arrests within the city.

Homan has since been steadily consolidating his support on the Hill and among anti-immigrant policy wonks at influential think tanks like the Center for Immigration Studies.

A small but influential group of ICE hard-liners-led by Chris Crane, the head of the ICE employee union-viewed Homan's continued presence at the agency as a problem. "For these sanctuary cities that knowingly shield and harbor an illegal alien, that is, in my opinion, a violation of 8 U.S.C. 1324, an alien-smuggling statute", Homan said. It limits cooperation between local law enforcement and USA immigration authorities. Homan said the law puts his officers at risk by forcing them to arrest "dangerous criminals on their turf". The legislation, which went into effect at the start of the year, blocks law enforcement officials from asking someone about their immigration status and from holding an immigrant in jail to assist ICE.

The California law, though, continues to allow ICE to detain immigrants throughout the state.

Violators could be subject to civil action, according to state Senate president and author of the bill Kevin de León.

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