On Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced it arrested 498 individuals in jurisdictions that blocked federal immigration enforcement activities.
ICE's Fugitive Operations teams made those arrests during a four-day operation, ending Wednesday, called “Operation Safe City,” an apparent reference to the controversial “Sanctuary City” label politicians use to describe certain areas of the country.
The bulk of the arrests occurred in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver, New York City, and Massachusetts, ICE said on Thursday. The vast majority of those arrested had criminal convictions or were previously deported.
In a statement, ICE acting Director Tom Homan argued for greater federal immigration resources devoted to sanctuary jurisdictions that failed to cooperate with federal officials.
“Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration,” he said.
“ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities,” Homan continued.
Thursday's news followed months of tough stances from the Trump administration regarding sanctuary jurisdictions. Earlier this month, for example, Homan criticized a California law that limited cooperation between federal officials and state and local law enforcement.
“By passing this bill, California politicians have chosen to prioritize politics over public safety,” Homan said.
On Thursday, as he did earlier this month, Homan emphasized the importance of cooperation across different levels of law enforcement.
“ICE's goal is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our law enforcement partners to help prevent dangerous criminal aliens from being released back onto the streets,” Homan said. “Non-cooperation policies severely undermine that effort at the expense of public safety.”