ICE chief wants to slap smuggling charges on leaders of sanctuary cities
The country’s top immigration enforcement officer says he is looking into charging sanctuary city leaders with violating federal anti-smuggling laws because he is fed up with local officials putting their communities and his officers at risk by releasing illegal immigrants from jail.
Thomas Homan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also told Americans to expect more work site enforcement targeting unscrupulous employers and more 287(g) agreements with willing police and sheriff’s departments that want to help get illegal immigrants off their streets. Eventually, he said, ICE will break the deportation records of 409,849 migrants set in 2012 under President Obama.
“I think 409,000 is a stretch this year, but if [the Justice Department] keeps going in the direction they’re going in, if we continue to expand our operational footprint, I think we’re going to get there,” he told The Washington Times. “Our interior arrests will go up. They’re going to top last year’s for sure.”
Mr. Homan is the spear tip of President Trump’s effort to step up immigration enforcement — perhaps the largest swing in attitude for any agency in government from the last administration to the current one.
Agents and officers have been unshackled from the limits imposed by Mr. Obama, whose rules restricted arrests to less than 20 percent of the estimated illegal immigrant population.
Now, most illegal immigrants are eligible for deportation, though Mr. Homan said serious criminals, recent border crossers and people who are actively defying deportation orders are still the agency’s priorities.
“It’s a matter of time before one of my officers is seriously hurt or doesn’t go home because someone made a political decision on the backs of my officers,” he said.
But he said he won’t be chased out of “sanctuaries” and pointedly raised a section of federal code — 8 U.S.C. 1324 — that outlaws attempts to “conceal, harbor or shield” illegal immigrants.
“I think these sanctuary cities need to make sure they’re on the right side of the law. They need to look at this. Because I am,” he said.
Asked whether that means he will recommend prosecutions, he said, “We’re looking at what options we have.”
The law carries a penalty of five years in prison in most cases, but penalties could rise to include life in prison or even death if someone is killed during the crime.
Mr. Homan said refusing to cooperate is counterproductive for sanctuary cities, whose goal is to protect illegal immigrants from deportation.
** He said if his agents have to knock on doors in the community, then they are likely to encounter still more illegal immigrants to round up.
“If I arrest a bad guy in the jail, I arrest him. But if I go to his home or his place of employment and arrest the bad guy, and there’s five guys with him? They’re going to come too,” the chief said.:coffee_spray:**