Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told lawmakers Tuesday that she asked federal prosecutors to explore the possibility of bringing criminal charges against leaders of sanctuary cities.
"The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available," she told the Senate Judiciary Committee, adding that the policies are "putting my [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers at risk."
Neilsen’s comment comes after Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said earlier this month that he too has been talking to the DOJ about whether these leaders can be criminally charged.
In his interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto after California’s sanctuary state law went into effect, Homan said the leaders are violating 8 U.S. Code § 1324, which states that any person, "knowing... the fact that an alien has come to... the United States in violation of the law, conceals, harbors or shields from detection... such [an] alien in any place" could face several years in prison and/or fines.
Sanctuary policies refuse to give federal immigration officers access to jails and do not give authorities advance notice on when an illegal immigrant is about to be released.
"We've got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes," Homan said in the interview.
Either way, Homan promised that even in the face of sanctuary policies, ICE will continue to have a presence, and an increased one at that.
“If you think ICE is going away, we’re not,” he said. “There’s no sanctuary from federal law enforcement.”