The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement told a Fox News host the agency would increase its presence in California in response to the state's so-called sanctuary state law.
Speaking to Neil Cavuto on Fox News on Tuesday, Thomas Homan said he couldn't believe California had voted to become a sanctuary state, calling the decision terrible and saying the state wants "to put politics ahead of public safety."
"California better hold on tight," Homan said. "They're about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers in the state of California."
"If the politicians don't want to protect their communities," he said, "then ICE will."
The law bars state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources to assist federal immigration authorities. Local law enforcement agents are prohibited from inquiring about immigration status or giving federal immigration authorities access to interview a person in custody.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law in October, and it went into effect this year.
Homan's remarks were the latest escalation in the battle between the Trump administration and cities and states with so-called sanctuary policies, which seek to protect undocumented immigrants who have run-ins with law enforcement from being handed over to federal authorities.
In November, a federal judge blocked an executive order by the President that sought to strip sanctuary cities of receiving federal funding.
Homan also told Cavuto he believes sanctuary cities face charges from the Department of Justice and should have their funding withheld. And politicians should be held responsible, he added.
"I mean, more citizens are going to die because of these policies," Homan said. "We need to hold these politicians accountable for their actions."
"New year, old rhetoric from Washington," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, sharing a link to a clip of Homan's interview on Twitter. "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."
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