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'They're harboring fugitives': Republicans call for action against sanctuary cities

President Donald Trump’s decision to delay a wave of deportation raids in major cities has also stuck a pin in a likely escalation of the administration’s ongoing conflict with sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

The president previously claimed a series of raids to remove people in the country illegally would begin this week, but he announced over the weekend that the initiative has been put on hold to give Congress an opportunity to fix outdated immigration laws.

“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!” Trump tweeted Saturday.

The Washington Post had reported the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement operation was intended to target families already subject to removal orders in 10 cities, including Chicago, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. Chicago and Los Angeles are among the hundreds of cities and counties across the country that limit information-sharing with the Department of Homeland Security and prevent local authorities from assisting with immigration enforcement.

“I have directed – and Superintendent [Eddie] Johnson has confirmed – that [the Chicago Police Department] has terminated [Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s] access to CPD’s databases related to federal immigration enforcement activities,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said last week. “I have also personally spoken with ICE leadership in Chicago and voiced my strong objection to any such raids. Further, I reiterated that CPD will not cooperate with or facilitate any ICE enforcement actions.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement asserting that state residents have legal rights and protections regardless of immigration status, and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said her government is “committed to protecting the rights of all our immigrant families in the face of these disturbing threats.”

The Trump administration and ICE have clashed with sanctuary cities before. President Trump was outraged last year when the mayor of Oakland publicized a planned ICE operation in advance, and he at one point discussed releasing detained undocumented immigrants into sanctuary cities.

“They’re harboring fugitives,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla. “It’s against the law to do that, period. If you or I were harboring fugitives in our house, what would happen to us? So why is a city any different?”

Officials in sanctuary cities argue they have neither the responsibility or the authority to enforce federal immigration laws, and they maintain cooperation with ICE would undermine their relationships with immigrant communities. Local law enforcement agencies that support sanctuary policies often claim refusing to assist with federal deportation efforts helps them preserve the trust of the public.

Mullin acknowledged enforcing these laws is the federal government’s responsibility, but he said local law enforcement should be willing to assist in maintaining the rule of law.

“They’re federal fugitives,” he said. “We’re not talking about the federal government coming in and pulling people over for traffic violations in downtown San Francisco.”…[ ]

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8 U.S. Code § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens is a Punishable Act

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