Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Thomas Homan has deemed jurisdictions that do not fully comply with his agents as unpatriotic. The acting director's comments underscore the friction between the Trump administration and so-called sanctuary cities.
On July 12, Homan blasted sanctuary cities that decline to turn over arrested undocumented immigrants to ICE agents.
"I've been doing this job almost 34 years and sanctuary cities, in my opinion, are un-American," Homan told Fox News. "That's not the America I grew up in."
The ICE leader asserted that sanctuary cities make their communities less safe by not fully cooperating with his agents.
"That is why the two legislative proposals that were introduced by Chairman Goodlatte, Kate's Law and the sanctuary city law, so important," Homan added. "We have to make these people cooperate with us... It's an officer safety issue. It's a community safety issue. Enough is enough with sanctuary cities."
On June 29, House Republicans passed two pieces of immigration legislation sponsored by Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. The first bill, titled Kate's Law, would impose harsher penalties on undocumented immigrants who return to the U.S. after deportation. The second bill, called the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would allow the federal government to deny cities law enforcement funding if they do not comply fully with ICE agents, CNN reports.
"It is a simple principle that if you are going to receive taxpayer dollars from the federal government to keep people safe, that you have got to follow the law and keep them safe," Goodlatte asserted.
House Democrats blasted the bill, accusing the administration of President Donald Trump of attempting to blackmail sanctuary cities into compelling their local law enforcement officers to behave like immigration agents.
"What they want to do is commandeer state and locals to do their job for them, and a lot of police departments object to that because they need to build trust with communities," argued Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California.
"This bill perpetuates the ugly myth that immigrants are more dangerous and more likely to commit crimes than native Americans," charged Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York. "The bill demonizes immigrants, punishes communities that seek to build trust between immigrants and law enforcement and allows indefinite detention... all while making us less safe."
Both pieces of legislation are expected to face an uphill battle to pass in the Senate.
On July 12, Homan asserted that Trump had empowered ICE officers to detain any undocumented immigrant they encounter.
"One thing President Trump did with the executive orders is he took the handcuffs off of our officers," Homan told The Daily Caller. "The executive order could've been written in one sentence: 'You are now allowed to enforce the law as written.' There's been a lot of people off the table. Now there's no population off the table anymore."
On Jan. 24, Trump signed an executive order that broadly expanded the criteria used to determine which undocumented immigrants ICE should prioritize. Hans von Spakovsky of the conservative Heritage Foundation noted that, while the Obama administration had prioritized the arrest and removal of undocumented immigrants who had committed felonies or high-class misdemeanors, Trump's directive "covers just about every illegal alien in the country."
On July 7, a previously undisclosed ICE memo revealed that agents had been directed to detain any undocumented immigrants that they came across, regardless of their criminal record, ProPublica reports.
On Feb. 21, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations director Matthew Albence circulated a memo declaring "effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties."