A threat by the head of Homeland Security to consider charges against sanctuary city officials has one Bay State mayor saying bring it on.
“I gotta laugh,” said Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera. “With all the bad guys out there, to be coming after a war vet is foolish.”
Rivera, who served in the 3rd Armored Division as a military policeman during Desert Storm, said his city police have turned over “serious” criminals to federal immigration officials, but they don’t go looking to pluck people off the streets.
“We’re not pulling kids out of classrooms,” he said. “This is only distracting people from the real problems in Washington.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” he added about the threat of possible prosecution.
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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced yesterday she’s asking the federal Department of Justice to see if criminal charges can be filed against sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal deportation orders.
“The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available,” Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
That didn’t deter Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh either.
“We are a city that values and respects immigrants, and Boston will keep standing by its immigrant community,” Walsh said in a statement last night.
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Amherst, Cambridge, Northampton, Somerville and Lawrence are considered sanctuary cities. Boston is all but a sanctuary city, since it passed the Trust Act in 2014 that reassures immigrants police will not help deport them.
A sanctuary city is a non-legal term meant to describe a city or town that does not enforce federal immigration laws.
Sanctuary cities typically do not use municipal funds to enforce federal immigration laws and restrict their police forces from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, particularly when it comes to traffic violations.
Nielsen’s sanctuary city warning came after withering questioning about what she heard, or didn’t catch, at a meeting last week with President Trump who reportedly uttered a vulgar term.
“I did not hear that word used,” she told Vermont Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “No sir.”
The president has been fighting back against the accusation of foul language, originally reported by U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) — a charge others in the meeting have shot down.
Nielsen’s targeting of sanctuary cities comes after California’s new sanctuary law went into effect Jan. 1. That law has come under attack by federal immigration officials who say it puts law enforcement at risk.
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