Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, blasted sanctuary cities as "un-American" in an interview with the Washington Examiner published Monday.
Cities and jurisdictions with so-called sanctuary cities policies don’t enforce federal immigration law. Homan cited Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia as the worst examples of the practice.
"Sanctuary cities, in my opinion, are un-American," Homan told the Examiner.
Homan argued that jurisdictions that implement such policies see a surge in crime.
"In the last year, I've read all these stories of how the crime rate has exploded in Chicago, and the president's trying to help them. We're stepping up our game in Chicago. Is Chicago doing everything that it can to decrease the criminal activity up there? I say no," Homan said.
"I say no because if you're an illegal alien, and you get arrested in the United States for a crime, and you get booked in Cook County, Chicago, my officers aren't allowed in the jail. They don't accept our detainers. They don't share information with us," he continued.
The former Border Patrol agent also pointed to San Francisco and New York as cities that shouldn’t have implemented a sanctuary cities policy.
"San Francisco. How soon they forget," he said, a reference to the death of Kathryn Steinle, 32, who was murdered in 2015 by an immigrant in the country illegally.
Homan also argued that New York City, “the site of the most horrific terrorist event in this nation's history” doesn’t “accept our detainers.”
"New York City, they're proud of being a sanctuary city," Homan said. "These jurisdictions, these cities, are choosing to shield people who violated the laws of this country that committed a crime against this country; they're going to shield them. So, what's next? Sanctuary cities for people who don't want to pay their taxes?"
Homan noted that his criticism was directed at politicians, not local law enforcement officers. He said that many police officers want to enforce immigration law.
"The street cops that I talk to want to help,” he said. “It's the politicians who want to make this a political game. It's not a political game. This is a matter of public safety and life and death we shouldn't be playing politics with this.”