In summary

The head of federal immigration enforcement said he will send more officers to California if the state stands by its new ‘sanctuary’ law.

In the latest twist in the fight between California and the Trump administration, the head of federal immigration enforcement said he will send more officers to California if the state won’t enforce immigration laws now that its new “sanctuary” policy has taken effect.

Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Thomas Homan told Fox News  yesterday that “California better hold on tight. They are about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers.” He also said that political leaders who implement sanctuary laws should be charged with crimes.

California’s new law took effect January 1, barring local and state law enforcement agencies from questioning people about their immigration status or holding them because of it. They are also unable to share information about undocumented immigrants with federal agencies unless they meet specific criteria such as having been convicted of certain serious crimes.

“If the politicians in California don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will,” Homan said.

He also said he intends to go after cities with their own sanctuary policies.

“What they’ve done is force my officers to arrest dangerous criminals on their turf, in their homes, in their place of business rather than arresting them in the safety of a county jail,” Homan went on to say.

His comments were in response to Gov. Brown, who said that the law will provide some safety for undocumented immigrants who are living quietly and working hard in the state.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted in response: “New year, old rhetoric from Washington. Here in California, we’ll stay the course and enforce our laws that protect our communities and make CA’s economy #1 in the nation.”

In Sacramento, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said his city would “redouble” its efforts to protect immigrants, adding that federal officials “know where to find me.”

Homan said he has asked the Department of Justice to analyze the federal government’s options and suggested withholding funding and filing charges against some political leaders for violating federal law.

The city of San Francisco and Becerra, on behalf of the state, filed suit in August against the Trump administration for threatening to withhold funds. They allege such treatment is unconstitutional.

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...