A Trump administration official has accused California lawmakers of using sanctuary policy protections to bankroll human smuggling rings, The Sacramento Bee reported.
“We’re giving them a selling point,” an unnamed administration official said Monday. “We’re lining their pockets. Sanctuary cities are bankrolling the very criminal organizations that can smuggle terrorists, that smuggle weapons, that smuggle drugs and have killed border patrol agents.”
President Donald Trump on Tuesday will make his first visit to the state since taking office. He's expected to face opposition to his stance on immigration policies.
His trip comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed last week against California lawmakers, which accuses the state's officials of violating federal laws by obstructing federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Sanctuary policies make it more difficult for federal agents carry out their duties, puts them in danger and makes immigrant communities less safe, according to the lawsuit.
What do California lawmakers say?
But California Jerry Gov. Brown (D) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D), along with other state lawmakers, have pledged to fight the lawsuit.
"Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!” Brown said in a statement.
"The people of California will not be bowed by the Trump administration's brazen aggression and intimidation tactics. We will fight this sham lawsuit and will fight all cowardly attacks on our immigrant communities. #ProtectDREAMers," Pelosi tweeted last week in response to the lawsuit.
What does the acting ICE director say?
Acting ICE Director Tom Homan fired back at Pelosi for her accusations against immigration officers.
"How dare she say we’re terrorizing immigrant communities?" Homan said in a conference organized by the White House for reporters. "Our officers are protecting the immigrant community in many ways."
"You’re talking about law enforcement people that get up every day and leave the safety and security of their home and their families and strap a gun to their hip every day to defend this nation. That’s the farthest thing from cowards you’re ever going to see,” Homan continued. “So, her quotes were just beyond the pale.”
Last month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf gave illegal immigrants a heads-up about a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation that took place in her city.
At least 800 criminal immigrants avoided deportation thanks to the mayor's alert, according to Homan.