Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence scorched Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over her response to allegations that an illegal immigrant felon protected by her city's sanctuary laws s-xually assaulted a three-year-old girl.
In the aftermath of the crime, Fox News reported, the mayor tried to shift the blame to ICE officials by accusing the agency of politicizing the incident.
“I think it’s the height of hypocrisy,” Albence (above, right) said. “I can tell you, I’ve been firsthand trying to work with the city of Chicago for the better part of a decade to get them to cooperate with us so we can get criminals off the streets.”
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The news network added:
The city’s controversial sanctuary city policies, in which local law enforcement ignore detainer requests from ICE that they be notified when arrested illegal immigrants are released from custody, have come under renewed scrutiny after one of those sprung from custody was arrested last month for allegedly sexually assaulting the 3-year-old in a bathroom.
ICE had lodged a detainer in June against Christopher Puente, who has several felony convictions and a prior removal, after he was arrested for theft. But Chicago ignored the request and released him.
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When asked about the city's policy, which essentially protects all illegal immigrants from being deported by ICE, Lightfoot pointed a finger at the agency.
"They're critical because we have said very clearly we are a welcoming city, a sanctuary city. Chicago Police Department will not cooperate with ICE on any immigration-related business," she said.
"And that's affected their ability to conduct immigration raids across the city. But that's exactly our intention. We have to make sure that our police department is seen as a legitimate force in all our communities," she added, nothing further that she is open to federal partnerships but only “in a way that is consistent with our values as a city.”
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“If ICE is complaining, then they should do their job better," Lightfoot said.
Albence countered by listing all of the ways in which the city of Chicago has hampered his agency.
"They've cut out our information sharing ability, they've cut off our ability to get individuals they have in custody turned over to us, they've cut us out of the gang database," he said.
“So for the mayor to sit there and say ICE should do its job better — we’d love to do our job better but we depend on the cooperation of other law enforcement agencies, just like Chicago Police Department does,” the acting ICE chief said.
“When they are working a case, they rely on the cooperation of other law enforcement agencies as well, that's how law enforcement works — information sharing, intelligence sharing, and the sharing and pooling of resources.”