Acting immigration director suggests charging "sanctuary cities" politicians with crimes

The Trump administration's war on so-called "sanctuary cities" reaches new rhetoric

By Matthew Rozsa
Published January 3, 2018 10:21AM (EST)
 (Getty/Bryan Cox)
(Getty/Bryan Cox)

President Donald Trump's director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Fox News on Tuesday that he hopes politicians like California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, will face legal consequences for opposing the president's policies toward undocumented immigrants.

ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan told Fox News' Neil Cavuto that he hoped the Justice Department would "file charges against the sanctuary cities" and "hold these politicians personally accountable." He also suggested the federal government "hold back their funding" as a way of punishing them for not acceding to the federal government's demands.

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

Earlier in the interview, Homan also proclaimed that ICE would increase its presence in California, despite Brown signing a "sanctuary state" bill into law that limits the extent to which local law enforcement can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

"If he thinks ICE is going away, we're not," Homan told Cavuto. "There's no sanctuary from federal law enforcement. As a matter of fact, we're in the process now — I'm going to significantly increase our enforcement presence in California. We're already doing it. We're going to detail additional enforcement assets to California. 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. If the politicians in California don't want to protect their communities, then ICE will."

Despite Homan's repeated claims that rounding up undocumented immigrants would make Americans safer, the existing data indicates that undocumented immigrants do not account for more crime than legal residents.

Homan has been open about his support for Trump and his approval of Trump's increasingly harsh policies toward undocumented immigrants, according to CBS News. In November, Homan responded to a reporter's question about accusations that ICE engages in racial profiling by referring to the patriotism of the people who work for ICE.

"People can make allegations all day long. I got 20,000 American patriots that work for ICE. These are men and women who do their job honorably. They get up every morning, strap a gun to their hip and leave the safety of their homes and their families to protect communities, to protect people they'll never meet and they'll never know," Homan said.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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