Ex-ICE chief to 'sanctuary cities': Stop releasing criminals 'every day to the street’

The left 'can't have it both ways,' says frustrated Homan

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Tom Homan at CPAC 2020
Tom Homan at CPAC 2020
Just the News
Last Updated:
March 13, 2020 - 12:52am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

If sanctuary cities want ICE to focus on arresting undocumented immigrants who commit crimes, then they should stop releasing them “every day to the street” and give ICE officers access to their jails, said former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan.

“I'm sick and tired of the left saying they [ICE] need to concentrate more on criminals, but we're not going to let you in our jail,” Homan told Just the News at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

"You can't have it both ways," he said.

“If you want ICE to concentrate even more on criminals, then let us in the damn jail where your local and state law enforcement has chosen to lock [deportable alien offenders] in a jail cell because either they're a public safety threat or flight risk," said Homan. "There's a reason they arrest them and put them in a jail cell. All we're asking for is access to that jail cell." 

As of Jan. 16, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio had "released 29 criminal aliens and immigration violators since November 2019, despite written detainer requests filed with them" by ICE.

Homan said sanctuary cities receive funding from the Department of Justice even though they do not cooperate with the enforcement of federal immigration law.

“They won't notify [ICE] when they release them," and the released offenders "will just go reoffend," said Homan, "but come next year" the same jurisdictions will "have their hand out for more Department of Justice funding, because they want to be reimbursed for detaining illegal aliens."

Instead, explained Homan, "they could have turned them over to us and not have to detain them over and over and over again.”

"It's ridiculous," Homan said of the recidivist cycle justifying new self-perpetuating funding requests.

In 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) signed the California Sanctuary Law, which prohibits agencies on the local and state level from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement as a way to protect the rights of undocumented immigrants.

In 2019, the Los Angeles City Council formally declared L.A. a "city of sanctuary." Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti applauded the council's support of "L.A.’s longstanding practice and policy of building trust between LAPD and immigrant communities in order to keep all Angelenos safe," his spokesperson said.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a supporter of sanctuary city policies, gave advance notice to undocumented immigrants ahead of a planned ICE raid in 2018.

“I do not regret sharing this information,” Schaaf said in response to the backlash her action provoked. “It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city, and we have not broken any laws. We believe our community is safer when families stay together.”

A federal appeals court in New York recently ruled that the Trump administration has the legal authority to deny federal grants to cities and counties that do not cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement.

The American Civil Liberties Union did not respond to a request for comment on this story. However, last month the ACLU criticized the Trump administration's decision to send special border patrol "tactical units" to certain sanctuary cities. 

“This is transparent retaliation against local governments for refusing to do the administration’s bidding," said the ACLU's Naureen Shah in a statement. "It will put lives at risk by further militarizing our streets. Local governments should not face reprisals for focusing on local community needs and using taxpayer money responsibly, instead of helping to deport and detain community members."