About Face? DHS Chief Vows to Defend ICE, Hammer Sanctuary Cities

The Biden administration must really be taking heat from rank-and-file, poll-watching Democrats who are growing increasingly nervous about the White House’s lousy response to the border/migrant crisis.

That’s the only way to explain what is a massive about-face for the administration regarding immigration policies reportedly under consideration.

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The Washington Times reports that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is set to hammer so-called “sanctuary cities” that serve as illegal immigrant magnets and which are currently refusing to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to remove them from the country.

In addition, Mayorkas reportedly also wants to see more criminal prosecutions of people crossing illegally into the U.S. while rejecting calls to abolish ICE and eliminate the agency altogether, as extreme leftist Democratic voters want.

The Times adds:

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Mr. Mayorkas said he’s working on a new set of deportation guidelines to govern how and when officers can arrest and attempt to deport illegal immigrants.

Pressed by ICE employees worried about public resistance to the agency’s work, Mr. Mayorkas said ICE has a “noble mission.”

“I’m 100% opposed to the abolition of ICE,” he told staffers. “It is the opposite of what I think needs to occur. I think we need to strengthen our policies and practices and communicate more effectively what we do and why we do it.”

More remarkably, perhaps, were the DHS chief’s comments regarding criminal prosecutions of illegal aliens in saying he believes more of them ought to occur.

Normally, illegal immigrants are dealt with under administrative law, the punishment simply being removal from the country. That said, illegal entry is a misdemeanor punishable under Title 8 Section 1326.

“I see cases now where we apprehend and remove individuals that I think need to be prosecuted criminally,” he told staffers, adding at another point: “Quite frankly, I’m going to have to understand why some of these individuals are not subject to a Title 8 USC 1326 case, and I intend to work with the [Department of Justice] in that regard.”

Naturally, the Biden administration is going to face pushback from far-left pro-open borders groups. Just last month, a group of professors at the UCLA School of Law filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that Section 1326 is ‘racist’ (because of course, it is).

“My view is that no one should be advocating for more 1326 prosecutions without first reckoning with its history,” Ahilan Arulananthem, one of the professors, told the paper. “I don’t know whether Secretary Mayorkas is aware of Section 1326’s origins — I’m sure many people who have prosecuted cases under it (and defended them, as I did for several years) are not.”

Nevertheless, not everyone is convinced that Mayorkas is seriously considering the measures for which he is advocating.

“Mayorkas likely understands that some sanctuary policies are so ridiculous that even murderers might be released. But anything he does will still be contained within the Biden administration’s own narrow enforcement scheme,” Jon Feere, a former top ICE employee who now is at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Times. “Biden’s DHS is allowing thousands of criminal aliens to run free via its own policies.”

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Added a current DHS official: “I’ve seen this administration say a lot of things that I feel like they’re disingenuous about, and they know they can’t deliver on, but they pretend and leave their audience to believe they can deliver on. That’s what I see here.”

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.