In the latest salvo from the Trump Administration against sanctuary city policies, Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan spoke out during a White House press corps briefing Thursday vowing to crack down on cities like San Francisco that he calls a "magnet" for crime by immigrants.
As CBS 5 reports, and as you can hear in the video above, Homan took the opportunity to lash out at sanctuary cities during a press briefing about the MS-13 gang and some recent violence attributed to them on Long Island.
President Trump himself visited a county on Long Island Friday to give a speech that blamed poor border enforcement and lax immigration policies for the MS-13 gang violence. As the Washington Post reports, the president also spoke out against sanctuary cities and "used his remarks to push Congress to boost funding for the administration's immigration crackdown, including the start of construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, 10,000 new ICE agents and 5,000 new Customs and Border Patrol officers."
But Homan focused specifically on sanctuary cities in his remarks Thursday, saying, "I’ll say it once again sanctuary cities are a criminal’s best friend. If you are an alien smuggler and you are smuggling people illegally into this country, that’s one sales pitch. We can get you to a sanctuary city where that city will help shield you from immigration."
He vowed to send "additional resources to look for [immigrants] at [their] home[s]" in sanctuary cities, suggesting that ICE agents can not get access to immigrants in county jails in sanctuary cities which is false in the case of violent criminals.
"Sanctuary cities not only endanger the public’s safety, but they endanger my law enforcement officers because when we can’t get a violent alien out of county jail, it means that one of our officers will be forced to knock on a door which anyone in law enforcement knows that is one of the most dangerous things to do," Homan said, adding that MS-13 gang members "walk out of country jails everyday."
CNN argues the opposite side, speaking to several gang members and FBI agents, saying that the MS-13 gang may be emboldened and growing under the Trump Administration because immigrant victims fear going to the police thinking they may get deported themselves under the current crackdown.
As the Washington Post notes, ICE arrests of illegal immigrants went up by almost 40 percent during Trump's first 100 days in office, and Honan said today that ICE has arrested 3,311 gang members so far this year.
The MS-13 gang last made headlines in San Francisco following a brazen 2008 triple murder in the Mission of a father and his two sons, shot while driving through the neighborhood. The accused killer, Edwin Ramos, was an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, and it came out in the investigation that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity, and a retaliation for a gang killing earlier that day. Ramos was tried and convicted in 2012, receiving three life sentences with no chance of parole.