LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The acting director of ICE issued a statement Friday threatening arrests of undocumented immigrants en masse "in local neighborhoods and at worksites" in response to California's newly signed "sanctuary state" law.
Tom Homan blasted California's SB54, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday, saying the law "will undermine public safety and hinder ICE from performing its federally mandated mission."
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the law bars police from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement in most cases.
Under the law, police, sheriff's officials and jail officers will be barred from transferring immigrants to federal authorities if their rap sheet includes only minor offenses.
"SB54 will negatively impact ICE operations in California by nearly eliminating all cooperation and communication with our law enforcement partners in the state," Homan said.
California's Democratic Senate leader Kevin de Leon introduced the bill in response to widespread fear in immigrant communities following the election of President Donald Trump, who railed against immigrants in his campaign and promised to sharply ramp up deportation.
Homan's statement signaled, however, that ICE would not be deterred from its mission.
"ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community," Homan said.
"ICE will also likely have to detain individuals arrested in California in detention facilities outside of the state, far from any family they may have in California."
California is home to an estimated 2.3 million undocumented immigrants.