The federal government is considering a new tactic to crack down on sanctuary cities. Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), recently told the Washington Times that he is looking at the possibility of charging leaders of sanctuary cities under anti-smuggling laws. In particular, Homan points to a federal law that outlaws any attempt to "conceal, harbor or shield" illegal aliens.
Anti-illegal immigration advocates like the idea. Ira Mehlman with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) tells KTRH that Congress is making similar efforts to punish sanctuary leaders. "(The House) has passed a bill in which they said local officials who make these sanctuary policies can be held accountable by the victims of crimes that are committed by the people they release," he says. "We have seen countless instances in which criminals who were turned loose as a result of these sanctuary policies have gone on to commit other heinous offenses."
Homan maintains that sanctuary policies that protect illegal aliens are making communities less safe and putting his officers at more risk by forcing them to conduct more dangerous raids rather than simply arrest aliens who are already in custody.
Mehlman agrees that sanctuary leaders are putting communities at risk and need to be held accountable for criminal acts committed by illegals who are released. "These are avoidable crimes that are perpetrated because you have politicians who would rather make political points than preserve the safety of their communities," he says. "They ought to be cooperating with federal law enforcement, they should not be turning criminals loose on the streets...their first priority should be protection of the community."