The nation’s top immigration enforcement official singled out four major cities for implementing policies that prevent local officials from cooperating with immigration agents, saying they are playing a “political game” with potentially life-or-death consequences.
Tomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told the Washington Examiner that of all the cities across the U.S. that refuse to voluntarily cooperate with his agents, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia are the worst offenders.
“In the last year, I’ve read all these stories of how the crime rate has exploded in Chicago, and the president’s trying to help them,” Homan said, referring to a recent deployment of additional agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to help Chicago Police investigate gun crime. (RELATED: ‘Send In The Feds’: Trump Launches Chicago Gun Violence Task Force)
“We’re stepping up our game in Chicago. Is Chicago doing everything that it can to decrease the criminal activity up there? I say no,” Homan added.
Chicago, like the other cities Homan identified, does not honor requests from ICE to hold criminal aliens past the completion of their local jail sentences. It also prevents public officials from asking about a person’s immigration status or sharing that information with federal authorities, except in circumstances required by law.
Homan said that those policies allow criminal aliens to go free and force ICE agents to track them down in their homes and on the streets, a more dangerous proposition than transferring custody in jails.
“Why would Cook County not want my officers, federal law enforcement officers, to go talk to somebody who is illegally in the United States that committed yet another crime against the citizens of this country? It’s ludicrous,” Homan told the Examiner.
The four cities criticized by Homan were among 10 jurisdictions that received a letter from the Department of Justice in April asking for proof that they are in compliance with federal immigration law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced earlier in July that he has received responses from all the jurisdictions and would “examine these claims carefully.” (RELATED: Sessions Remains Skeptical About Cities’ Immigration Law Claims)
Considering that Chicago and other cities on the list have for many years proudly identified as sanctuary jurisdictions, Homan says, it’s unlikely they will change their position any time soon.
“These jurisdictions, these cities, are choosing to shield people who violated the laws of this country that committed a crime against this country,” he said. “They’re going to shield them.”
In the absence of cooperation on immigration detainers, Homan is looking to boost ICE manpower in sanctuary jurisdictions in order to apprehend criminal aliens released by local jails. (RELATED: ICE Director: Hundreds Of Immigration Agents Will Deploy To Sanctuary Cities)
“As Director Homan stated, uncooperative jurisdictions have a higher rate of criminal alien releases than in places that honor ICE detainers,” an ICE official told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “As a result, ICE is forced to focus additional resources to conduct at-large arrests in the field in these non-cooperative areas.”
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