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The Trump administration is launching a silly war on mythical sanctuary cities

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- I savored the recent news that Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to send thousands of immigration agents to so-called "sanctuary cities" to round up illegal immigrants.

With apologies to "Apocalypse Now," I love the smell of vindication in the morning.

The Trump administration is planning to target a host of cities for additional scrutiny by allocating more agents and resources to those locales.

No problem there. While I vehemently oppose conservative politicians roping local and state cops into the enforcement of federal immigration law, this isn't that. These are federal agents enforcing federal statutes. That's their job.

ICE's Acting Director Thomas Homan -- who has called the whole concept of sanctuary cities "ludicrous" -- doesn't seem all that interested in politics.

Instead, what Homan specializes in is common sense. He made this clear during a recent interview with the Washington Examiner.

"What I want to get to is a clear understanding from everybody, from the congressmen to the politicians to law enforcement to those who enter the country illegally, that ICE is open for business," he said. "We're going to enforce the laws on the books without apology. ... It's not OK to violate the laws of this country anymore. You're going to be held accountable."

I'd feel better if Homan were just as committed to holding accountable a group of people who can fight back with lawyers, accountants and public relations specialists: employers of illegal immigrants. These are "the untouchables."

Still, he is right to push the message that anyone in the country illegally should worry about being deported. This includes those who live in so-called sanctuary cities.

"In the America I grew up in, cities didn't shield people who violated the law," he said in the interview.

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