Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Wednesday said the head of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is “just plain wrong” about how local law enforcement across the country deal with undocumented immigrants accused of violent crimes, leading the White House to dismiss his views as limited.
Thomas Homan, ICE's acting director and considered a leading candidate to be the next secretary of homeland security, said during the June 28 White House press briefing that “most law enforcement officials in cities work with us, but many don’t in the largest cities, and that’s where criminal aliens and criminal gangs flourish.”
On Wednesday, Landrieu, who serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, shot back against that comment during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast briefing in Washington.
“He’s just plain wrong about that. I’m not aware of any police department that releases violent criminals on the street of America,” Landrieu said. “Irrespective of immigration status, our police departments every day, where crime is manifesting itself, are out there aggressively making sure the streets of America are safe.”
Landrieu said mayors are working with federal officials. He said that during two meetings -- one he said he believed Homan attended -- mayors have asked federal leaders for guidance on how to “police constitutionally.”
He said fingerprints of people booked into the Orleans Parish Prison are sent to ICE "immediately,” adding that federal officials “have been vague about what they want, how to execute it and the resources to get that done.”
“That kind of rhetoric is really not helpful, especially from that particular podium,” he said of Homan’s comment.
Asked during the Wednesday press briefing about Landrieu’s rebuttal, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Landrieu’s views are limited and that the administration stands behind Homan’s and his comment.
"I think that Tom has served our country well. He’s been active in law enforcement, and I would certainly trust his opinion,” Sanders said. “(We have) a lot of confidence in him and his abilities, having been in a multitude of different positions within law enforcement and been able to see it in a lot of places, not just one location, like the mayor."
Asked if she trusts Homan's views over Landrieu's, Sanders responded without hesitation. "I think that's pretty safe to say,” she said with a chuckle.