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DHS Secy Johnson: Making Detainers Mandatory for Sanctuary Cities Would be ‘Setback’

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that making federal detainers mandatory “would be a huge setback in our ability to work with state and local law enforcement” in testimony before Congress on Tuesday.

Johnson, under questioning from Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), said that the death of Kate Steinle was “exhibit A for why jurisdictions need to work with our Priority Enforcement Program. Secure Communities was not working. There were over 12,000 detainers of mine that were not acted upon.” Gowdy then asked Johnson why the detainers weren’t mandatory. Johnson replied, “I think that would be a huge setback in our ability to work with state and local law enforcement, and I suspect that they would agree as well,”

Johnson also, when he was asked why the man accused of killing Kate Steinle, Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was released to a sanctuary city despite having a detainer placed on him, told Gowdy “You’d have to ask the Bureau of Prisons.”

Earlier, Gowdy read a quotiation from Johnson where he said that he wanted illegal immigrants to come forward and submit to a background check before asking Johnson what in the background of Lopez-Sanchez, would suggest that he would come forward. Johnson answered that Lopez-Sanchez “is not the type of person that would ever qualify for any sort of deferred action.” And that he was referring to people “who we hope will report crime” when he talked about people coming forward.

Johnson concluded by arguing that the Secure Communities Program “was hugely problematic in the courts” because it violated the Due Process Clause of the US Constitution and “last time I looked, through federal legislation, you cannot rewrite the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.” And that “mandating, through federal legislation, the conduct of sheriffs and police chiefs is the way to go.”

(h/t Washington Examiner)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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