January 17, 2018

Justice Department considering illegal arrests of poiticians supporting sanctuaries

Alternet - The Department of Justice is considering subjecting state and local officials to criminal charges if they implement or enforce so-called sanctuary policies that bar jurisdictions from cooperating with immigration authorities. Immigration advocates argue such a move would be illegal.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made the disclosure during a Senate committee hearing on the department’s operations.

“The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues might be available,” Nielsen said. “The context of this is of course not only putting my [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers at risk, but also finding an efficient and effective way to enforce our immigration laws.”

The Justice Department’s review follows a chilling warning earlier this month from the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan, who said California would feel the wrath of his agency because of its decision to become a sanctuary state. Homan also called for local and state elected officials to be charged with federal crimes for adhering to santuary policies.

“We gotta take [sanctuary cities] to court, and we gotta start charging some of these politicians with crimes," Homan said dur ing an interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto. He said politicians who pushed sanctuary city legislation should be held "personally accountable” for their actions.

Immigration advocates said charging local or state officials with crimes for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities would be unlawful and a violation of the Constitution.

"These are really troubling intimidation tactics by the Trump administration," Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, told Newsweek. "If they’re threatening to prosecute state and local officials, it raises a number of concerns, including if they end up going after state or local officials who have been outspoken in opposing the Trump administration’s draconian and unlawful immigration enforcement policies. I think you’ve got a serious First Amendment problem.” 

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