Elected officials who defy federal immigration laws and allow their communities to become so-called “sanctuary cities” should be arrested, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said Tuesday.
Hodgson called for federal arrest warrants to be issued for his fellow elected officials in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration and border security in Washington, D.C.
“These officials pledge not to work with, cooperate or even communicate with federal immigration enforcement,” Hodgson said.
“As a result, these safe zones have become magnets for illegal aliens, some of which have violent criminal records. At best, sanctuary cities are a direct violation of trust between legal residents and the elected officials who took an oath to protect them at all costs. At the worst, it’s careless, illegal and extremely dangerous,” he said.
Officials in the communities of Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea and Northampton have called themselves “sanctuary cities.”
“If these sanctuary cities are going to harbor and conceal criminal illegal aliens from ICE…federal arrest warrants should be issued for their elected officials,” Hodgson continued, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
In his testimony, the sheriff said sanctuary cities will fade “if their leaders start running into legal trouble.”
Hodgson also called for an expansion of a partnership between local and federal law enforcement officials, saying corrections facilities should have staffers trained to “identify criminal illegal aliens.”
Immigration judges should also be available during evening hours in order to speed the issuing of warrants. “This could prevent the bail or release of a dangerous criminal illegal alien,” Hodgson said.
Hodgson said his father was an immigrant from England who became a citizen “the right, legal way.”
“We need to continue accepting immigrants who follow the rules and go through the legal process, not reward those who come here illegally,” he said, according to his prepared testimony.
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