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DHS secretary seeks criminal prosecution of "sanctuary cities"
Her comments coincide with California's recent enactment of a law expressly prohibiting state or local officials from fully complying with federal immigration-law agents.
By Rick Docksai
Contributor
Feb 22, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed Tuesday that her agency has asked federal prosecutors to determine if they could file criminal charges against cities that refuse to report immigration-law violations to federal law enforcement. These "sanctuary cities," which now number in the hundreds, have been openly challenging the Trump administration's crackdowns on undocumented immigration since Trump's first weeks in office despite repeated threats from the White House to punish them.

"The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available," Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Nielsen's comment followed California's recent enactment of a new law, effective January 1 of this year, which severely curtails the cooperation that the state and any of its municipalities can offer to federal immigration enforcement. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan panned the state's new law as hazardous to his agency's officers and the communities in which they make arrests because the officers have to accost and arrest immigration-violation suspects in public instead of retrieving them more easily and safely from state and local detention centers. Homan told the Washington Times last July that he would like to see sanctuary cities' officials charged with abetting human smuggling.

Trump first tried to target sanctuary cities last year by issuing an executive order cutting off federal funds to any city that does not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. But a federal judge handed down a ruling in November permanently blocking the order after the cities of Santa Clara and San Francisco sued.

Federal immigration agents have been stepping up their activity nationwide and especially in sanctuary cities and states, meanwhile, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE reported arresting 127 suspected undocumented immigrants in November-December 2017 alone during raids in New Jersey, New York, and Chicago.