Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C. on June 28. On Tueday, Homan suggested that local officials be arrested for promoting sanctuary city laws. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in an interview on Tuesday that local lawmakers should be arrested for promoting "sanctuary city" laws.
Tom Homan, who was nominated by president Donald Trump to be the permanent director of ICE in November, told Fox News that the Department of Justice should look into potentially charging elected officials for laws that limit cooperation between local law enforcement and immigration officials when undocumented immigrants are in police custody.
"I think we charge some of these sanctuary citizens with violating federal law. I think if they knowingly harbor and shield a known illegal alien, a public safety threat, in a jail and won't give us access."
He added: "We've got to take the sanctuary cities on, we've got to take them to court, and we've got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes."
Homan cited a specific federal statute -- 8, U.S.C. 1324 -- which covers harboring of aliens and makes it an offense to knowingly "conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation."
But there is some dispute over what "harboring" entails.
"The work of defining what constitutes 'harboring' has been left to the courts," the Catholic Legal Immigration Network said in a memo. "The federal courts have not settled on one uniform definition, but rather many of the circuit courts have adopted their own definition of 'harboring.