The head of the federal government's immigration enforcement agency revealed on Tuesday that he intends to deploy more agents and resources to sanctuary cities to arrest undocumented immigrants.
Encouraged by a president who has “taken the handcuffs off of law enforcement,” Thomas D. Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told the Washington Examiner that arrests inside the country have increased 40 percent and demands for undocumented immigrants in local jails have spiked by 80 percent.
— ICE (@ICEgov) July 15, 2017
There has also been a drop in illegal border crossings, which has allowed ICE to allocate more resources to the interior. The 300-plus sanctuary cities and counties that ignore detainment requests are key targets.
Homan said that this change in immigration enforcement has been welcomed by Border Patrol and ICE agents. “Now they have meaning to their jobs,” he said, having been given approval to hire 10,000 new agents.
Homan called sanctuary cities “ludicrous.” “In the America I grew up in,” he explained, “cities didn't shield people who violated the law.”
Furthermore, he said, sanctuary cities instill more fear in immigrant communities because ICE agents have to pursue fugitives at their jobs and homes.
Right now: Acting Director Homan is testifying before the House Committee on Appropriations on the FY2018 budget pic.twitter.com/5chWh4wuFj
— ICE (@ICEgov) June 13, 2017
Homan recently estimated that the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. could exceed 12 million. He had testified before Congress that under President Trump, no undocumented immigrant should feel safe from deportation.
“The president recognizes that you've got to have a true interior enforcement strategy to make it uncomfortable for them,” Homan said on Tuesday.