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ICE Chief Threatens Sanctuary City Officials with Jail Time if They Don't Comply with Subpoenas

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Denver and New York City officials are on thin ice with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement this week as a result of their widely publicized unwillingness to comply with federal immigration law.

According to the Washington Examiner, acting ICE Director Matt Albence told reporters Thursday in Washington that local officials who refuse to cooperate, releasing criminal illegal immigrants back into the population rather than handing them or their personal information over to the agency, should be prepared to “show up to court with a toothbrush.”

The agency is now willing to use its full authority under the U.S. legal code to prevent so-called “sanctuary city” policies from hindering immigration enforcement, even if that means having the officials responsible for those policies jailed.

“We expect them to comply” with subpoenas, Albence said. “If they don’t comply, we’ll be working with [the Department of Justice] to go to district court to force them to comply with the requirements.”

“The individuals that fail to comply can be held in contempt,” Albence continued. “They can show up to court with a toothbrush because they might not be going home that night. Because they could be jailed for failure to comply with a lawful order from a judge.”

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“That’s the route we’re going,” the ICE chief added.

Going to court, however, is not ICE’s preferred route. Instead, Albence told reporters, it is a “last resort.”

“Hopefully, when some of these other jurisdictions that don’t want to cooperate see that we’re taking this seriously, maybe they’ll come around and try to help us help their own communities,” he said.

Under President Donald Trump, the agency has repeatedly sought cooperation with sanctuary cities, counties and states, reaching out when illegal immigrants are arrested for crimes and requesting that the alleged perpetrators be held until they can be transferred into ICE custody for federal processing.

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This decades-old process has been ignored and undermined nationwide.

In locations that endorse such policies, compliance with ICE is no longer the norm.

And there have been numerous cases of alleged criminal immigrants being released back into the general public following arraignment or a decision not to prosecute, as is typical in many criminal cases involving U.S. citizens.

In such cases, federal subpoenas requiring local officials to hand over the personal information regarding the alleged perpetrators is ICE’s last best hope of investigating and apprehending the illegal immigrant in question.

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More than a few of these quarrelsome releases have turned into high-profile cases over the years, with many alleged perpetrators committing further, sometimes increasingly violent crimes upon returning to the general public.

Just weeks ago, 92-year-old Maria Fuertes was brutally murdered while walking the streets outside her Queens home around midnight on Jan. 6, according to WCBS.

While collecting cans late into the evening for spar cash, police say Fuertes was ambushed by 21-year-old Guyanese illegal immigrant Reeaz Khan, who allegedly brutally assaulted and strangled the woman in what authorities believe was a sexually motivated attack.

Fuertes would later be rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Khan was previously released by local authorities after being arrested when a household argument turned violent, leading Khan to allegedly smash his father’s face with a broken mug.

Speaking Jan. 17 in New York, Albence blasted local leadership, claiming NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policies “make this city less safe,” according to the New York Post.

City officials complied with just 10 of the 7,500 ICE detainers lodged last year for illegal immigrants convicted of or charged with crimes ranging from homicide to sexual assault, Albence said.

“ICE has no option but to increase enforcement” due to the city’s “lack of cooperation,” he said

“We wanted [Khan] three months ago, before he did this,” Albence said.

“If we had been able to cooperate with the NYPD, Maria Fuentes would be alive today.”

“Too little, too late, New York City,” the ICE chief added.

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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