L.A. Mayor ‘Not Scared At All’ of Being Arrested for Sanctuary City Status
BY NICHOLAS BALLASY FEBRUARY 8, 2018
WASHINGTON – Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he is “not scared at all” about the Department of Justice considering charges against local officials in sanctuary cities, calling it a “weak and pathetic move.”
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recently told a Senate committee hearing that DOJ is “reviewing what avenues might be available” to charge local officials who do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
“The context of this is, of course, not only putting my [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officers at risk, but also finding an efficient and effective way to enforce our immigration laws,” she said.
During an interview with Fox News, Acting ICE Director Tom Homan recently said, “We’ve got to take [sanctuary cities] to court, and we’ve got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes.”
PJM asked Garcetti if he is worried about potentially facing federal charges.
[Garcetti] “Not at all. I think it’s a political circus. I think it’s about stirring up, you know, blowing a dog whistle – not about anything real. There’s not a single document we’ve ever cut back, and they know that. There’s not a single city in America that has done that, so it was kind of a weak and pathetic move and I’m not scared at all,” Garcetti told PJM during an interview at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting recently.
Garcetti was referring to DOJ requesting records from Los Angeles and other cities pertaining to their compliance with federal immigration law.
When asked if there are federal statutes that he thinks DOJ would be able to use against his city, Garcetti replied, “Nope. They can do it [withdraw federal funds] but we’ll probably get those funds because it’s probably going to be thrown out by courts as it has been now. We coordinate and cooperate with our federal authorities. We can’t break the Constitution, though, and that’s what some of their requirements have asked us to do.
Democratic Mayor J. Christian Bollwage of Elizabeth, N.J., the fourth largest city in the state, explained that illegal immigrants who are arrested and accused of certain crimes like burglary are processed and released immediately in N.J. He compared DOJ’s threat to charge local officials to a fascist regime.
“The city of Elizabeth is not a sanctuary city, but it really scares me that the Department of Justice would send out subpoenas or arrest warrants for mayors who are performing their duty with respect to whatever their constituency is. So the threat of that reminds me of either a fascist regime or a strong dictatorship, and the United States has not moved in that direction, I believe,” he told PJM. “So therefore, it would strike me as extremely difficult to implement. And I hope when they say that, the Department of Justice, it was thrown as a way of fodder to say, ‘hey, we need to get you to start helping us.’”
Bollwage said anyone in his city who commits a crime of third degree or higher would likely go to jail, but undocumented immigrants accused of lesser offenses would be processed after their arrest and released.
“We are not a sanctuary city because there are times when outside agencies require our help and we are going to be helpful. In New Jersey, the issue of immigration does not really play into the county jails,” he said. “It doesn’t happen because if you get picked up for a violation and you are an undocumented immigrant, you are going to go to the local jail and with bail reform in New Jersey, you are not even going to be held if you’ve committed a traffic accident or something and you have no papers. Under bail reform in New Jersey, you are not even going to be held. You are let go immediately.”
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