Last week, Thomas Hogan, Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), threatened to arrest public officials in cities and counties that don’t turn immigrants in to ICE.
Homan told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that so-called “sanctuary cities” are violating federal law. He said that public officials who don’t enforce immigration laws are essentially the same as alien smugglers.
“That is a violation of 8 USC 1324. That’s an alien-smuggling statute. I’ve asked the Department of Justice to look at this. Can we hold them accountable? Are they violating federal law?” Homan said.
To make sure that Fox viewers knew the full extent of his radical proposal, Homan said, “We’ve got to take these sanctuary cities on. We’ve got to take them to court and we’ve got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes.”
Section 1324 is aimed at criminal conspiracies to bring undocumented immigrants into the United States or to traffic them once they are here. You can read the statute here.
The acts that are illegal under Section 1324 are pretty specific. They are:
- Bringing someone illegally into the United States (Smuggling)
- Transporting an undocumented immigrant in furtherance of the violation of the law (Moving the Alien from the Border to the Interior)
- Concealing or harboring an undocumented immigrant (Smugglers’ Safe Houses)
- Encouraging an alien to enter illegally (Recruiters for Coyotes)
None of these anti-smuggling provisions are violated when a police department adopts sensible confidentiality protections or police/ICE non-cooperation policies. The police are not required by law to enforce immigration laws, a federal government function. Since there is no legal obligation on the part of the police, there can be no criminal prosecution for non-cooperation.
You may not know Homan, but you have probably heard Donald Trump speak about him. When Trump was at Suffolk Community College last summer urging Suffolk police to rough up young Latino men that they arrest, he pointed Homan out to the applauding officers.
“Somebody said the other day, they saw him on television . . . ‘He looks very nasty, he looks very mean,’ ” Trump said, “That’s what I’m looking for!”
Homan was not known as a radical before Trump made him acting director last year. Since then, he has been the source of some truly frightening pronouncements, including promising that no set of undocumented immigrants should feel safe. The president has nominated him as permanent ICE chief.