DENVER — The discussion over immigration in Washington on Tuesday included so-called sanctuary cities.
During a congressional hearing, the Department of Homeland Security secretary made it known her department might crackdown on elected leaders who support sanctuary cities.
“The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues might be available,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said.
“The context of this is of course not only putting my ICE officers at risk but also finding an efficient and effective way to enforce our immigration laws.”
The White House vowed to cut funding from governments that do not give federal immigration agents access to jails and give advance notice when an undocumented immigrant is going to be released from custody.
The news means the mayors of cities such as Denver and Boulder who have not shied away from the sanctuary city label not only face losing federal money, but also prosecution.
“I really wish the Trump administration, instead of blustering and posturing, would work on finding solution on immigration that this nation faces,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said.
Hancock said Denver isn’t breaking any laws.
“We are in compliance with the federal regulation around immigration,” he said. “We just don’t take it to the extreme where we are allowing hate to override our consciousness and our values.”
Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones shared a similar sentiment. She called Nielsen’s position a distraction.
“We are doing our jobs. We aren’t breaking any laws. We are taking care of the residents of the community,” Jones said.
President Donald Trump’s administration is sending a strong message to the mayors of sanctuary cities across the U.S. Hancock said he hears it and won’t change anything.
“If being attacked personally made some of our heroes like Martin Luther King Jr. turn around and say we are not going to fight anymore, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said.
Nielsen also said she is not aware of any cases where elected officials are being charged with a crime in relation to sanctuary cities.