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DHS secretary reveals crackdown is coming against leaders of sanctuary cities — here's what she said

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill that her agency is exploring avenues to charge sanctuary city leaders with crimes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed Tuesday that a crackdown is coming against sanctuary city leaders.

What did she say?

During a hearing on Capitol Hill, Nielsen told lawmakers her agency has asked federal prosecutors to explore the possibility of lodging criminal charges against leaders in sanctuary cities.

"The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to the Washington Times.

"The context of this is of course not only putting my ICE officers at risk but also finding an efficient and effective way to enforce our immigration laws,” Nielsen explained.

Nielsen’s response came after Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) asked her about comments recently made by Tom Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Harris’ home state enacted a “sanctuary state” law on Jan. 1. Under that law, state law enforcement officials are barred from cooperating with federal immigration authorities or asking residents about their immigration status.

What did Homan say?

Homan told Fox News earlier this month that sanctuary city leaders must be held “personally accountable” for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants living in their cities.

The policies put his officers at risk, he explained.

In a separate interview with the Washington Times last year, Homan said he wants sanctuary city leaders charged as “complicit” in human smuggling.

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