Ken Cuccinelli, the acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, on Thursday accused sanctuary cities of harboring violent MS-13 gang members.
Cuccinelli, who was appointed to the second-highest position atop DHS in November, appeared on Fox Business to discuss a range of issues affecting his department, such as the Trump administration’s likely move to label Mexican drug cartels as terrorists, progress on the border wall, and the crackdown on gang activity within the United States.
The acting deputy secretary took particular umbrage with cities and localities that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), making it more difficult to arrest and deport illegal aliens accused of heinous crimes.
“A few years back, I was Virginia’s attorney general, and I would say then, and today, the biggest violent crime threat in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and attorneys general all around the country could have said the same thing, was MS-13,” Cuccinelli said Thursday on Fox Business’s “The Evening Edit.” “That is still a very significant criminal threat.”
“It’s one of the points of intersection that we have a problem with sanctuary cities who are harboring so many of these violent, vicious criminals — literally harboring from ICE and the opportunity to deport them and get them out of these communities and our country,” Cuccinelli continued.
The comments came as numerous Democratically controlled cities and jurisdictions across the country increasingly refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Such “sanctuary cities,” as they are popularly known as, refuse to honor ICE detainer requests whenever their local law enforcement arrest an illegal alien for an unrelated crime. Detainer requests ask that local officials hold onto an individual in detention long enough for an ICE agent to arrive and make an apprehension. (RELATED: ICE Spokesman Says Criminal Illegal Aliens Are Attracted To Sanctuary Cities)
When these detainer requests are ignored, many of these illegal aliens are allowed to be released back into the public, and back into the community where they can potentially commit another crime.
The Yonkers Police Department arrested a Mexican national living illegally in the U.S. in July after he was charged with a gang assault on another individual — he was later charged with manslaughter after his alleged victim succumbed to his injuries. ICE lodged a detainer request with the Yonkers Police Department, but YPD ignored the request and the individual was ultimately allowed to be released, according to ICE. A similiar story took place in Philadelphia, where local authorities not once, but twice, ignored ICE detainer requests earlier this year and released an illegal alien accused of sexually abusing children.
Cuccinelli said cracking down on criminal activity by illegal aliens is a priority for the Trump administration.
“Where immigration, illegal immigration in particular, affects communities’ safety is a priority for the president. Keeping people safe has always been, and remains, a major priority for him,” the DHS deputy said.
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