Days after it officially became the first sanctuary state in the nation, Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan sternly advised California to “hold on tight” and prepare for a significant increase in enforcement efforts in the state.
“If [California Gov. Jerry Brown] thinks he’s protecting immigrant communities, he’s doing quite the opposite because if he thinks ICE is going away, we’re not. There’s no sanctuary from federal law enforcement. 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,” Homan said in an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
Homan, who was officially tapped to serve as ICE director last November, said Brown put his officers at risk when he signed legislation last October making California a sanctuary state.
“I think it’s terrible–you got the state of California that wants to put politics ahead of public safety, ahead of officer safety. What they have done is forced my officers to arrest dangerous criminals on their turf, in their homes and places of business, rather than arresting them in the safety and security of a county jail. It’s ridiculous to annoyingly and intentionally put law enforcement at risk,” he said.
The acting director told Fox News he would be speaking with officials at the Justice Department about which avenues to pursue to withhold funds from sanctuary jurisdictions or taking them to court.
And, he added, “we gotta start charging some of these politicians with crimes.”
According to Homan, of the criminal aliens who are released, at least 50 percent will likely reoffend within a year and 75 percent will reoffend within five years.
Brown is not the only politician to come under fire from ICE officials. The end-of-year announcement by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that he had granted clemency 18 criminal aliens facing deportation drew the ire of Thomas Decker, New York field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
“While the governor’s pardons appear to be yet another politically driven attempt to circumvent federal immigration law, whether or not they actually have any legal effect on individual immigration cases will be reviewed by ICE,” Decker said in a statement on Jan. 1, according to the Epoch Times.
“For aliens who remain subject to final orders of removal under federal law, ICE will execute those lawful orders,” Decker reassured the public.
President Trump made clear on January 25, 2017 when he signed Executive Order 13,768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States (EO), that immigration enforcement and removal were priorities for his administration and ICE has set forth to implement the policy on the ground.
According to its annual overview, in FY2017, ICE ERO conducted 143,470 overall administrative arrests, of which 92 percent had a criminal conviction, a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive, or were processed with a reinstated final order. In FY2017, ICE conducted 226,119 removals. While this is a slight overall decrease from the prior fiscal year, the proportion of removals resulting from ICE arrests increased from 65,332, or 27 percent of total removals in FY2016 to 81,603, or 36 percent of total removals, in FY2017.
If Homan is confirmed, it is likely enforcement actions will increase and so too will the tensions with sanctuary politicians.