Acting Director Thomas Homan of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has issued a new directive to immigration officers to arrest criminal aliens even in local court houses across the country. Some immigration advocates see the directive as an assault on the various local and state jurisdictions that have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal aliens. The Department of Justice has threatened to withhold funding from these jurisdictions.
Homan stated in the January 10 directive, “Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials routinely engage in enforcement activity in courthouses throughout the country because many individuals appearing in courthouses for one matter are wanted for unrelated criminal or civil violations,” Director Homan wrote in the police directive. “ICE’s enforcement activities in these same courthouses are wholly consistent with longstanding law enforcement practices, nationwide. And, courthouse arrests are often necessitated by the unwillingness of jurisdictions to cooperate with ICE in the transfer of custody of aliens from their prisons and jails.”
Homan claimed that sanctuary jurisdictions endanger immigration officers. “The State of California wants to put politics ahead of public safety,” Homan stated in an interview on Fox News in January. “What they’ve done is force my officers to arrest dangerous criminals on their turf — in their homes and their place of business — rather than arresting them in the safety and security of a county jail.” Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed legislation that went into effect on January 1 that limits cooperation by state and local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities. The state attorney general recently warned employers that they may incur criminal liability for informing federal immigration authorities about possible illegal immigrants on their payrolls.
Homan went on to say: When you release a public safety threat back into the public, it’s just a foolish decision.”