Acting ICE Director Albence on Trump sanctuary city crackdown: They leave us 'no choice'

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matt Albence praised the Trump administration's crackdown on sanctuary policies as the battle between the president and the left-leaning jurisdictions continue.

"The sanctuary jurisdictions cause us to have to go out and make more arrests at large in the community," Albence told "Fox and Friends: Weekend." 

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"The safest thing for our officers and the public is to turn these individuals over to us when they have them in their custody … but they refuse to cooperate with us, leaving us no choice but to go out and work these cases at large."

Speaking in Washington on Friday, the president vowed to oppose sanctuary cities not complying with federal law or ICE agents.

"Not one more American life should be stolen by sanctuary cities," he said. "That's why we are calling on Congress to pass legislation giving American victims the right to sue sanctuary cities and hold them accountable for the suffering and the damages that they have caused."

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Also Friday, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is set to deploy Border Patrol agents to sanctuary jurisdictions across the U.S. to help ICE track down and detain illegal immigrants freed by left-wing cities and states.

One hundred specially trained officers will work with ICE from February to May. Among the agents are members of an elite unit, which the Times describes as the SWAT team of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

"Dedicated men and women of ICE will continue to do their job regardless of the obstacles put in front of them," Albence reacted, "but these things such as sanctuary cities … put our officers at a much greater risk than they need to be."

""Dedicated men and women of ICE will continue to do their job regardless of the obstacles put in front of them."

— Matt Albence

"There is no need for our officers to put their lives on the line every day to get individuals who otherwise could have been turned over in the safety and security of the jurisdiction’s jail," he added.

Albence said sanctuary jurisdictions seemingly practice a double standard when it comes to removing threats to public safety from their streets.

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"You have to remember these are the exact same individuals that jurisdiction just arrested hours ago for a criminal violation. They want to enforce their laws but they won't let us enforce ours," he explained.

Sanctuary policies limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities in an effort to shield illegal immigrants from deportation. Specifically, they refuse to honor detainers -- requests that ICE be alerted of an illegal immigrant’s release from custody so they can be transferred into ICE custody.

Many have spoken out against the organization's role in enforcing detainer requests -- including former Vice President Joe Biden -- but Albence and his agents remain undeterred, he explained.

"We’re not in a position where we get to pick and choose which laws we enforce," Albence said, adding that "there is no other law enforcement agency in this country that is being asked to ignore a lawfully issued order from a federal judge which is what some of these politicians are asking us to do."

"We enforce the laws Congress has passed," he reiterated.  "Should Congress change those laws, then we get to enforce new ones. But we’re going to continue to faithfully enforce the immigration laws to protect this country. We will do it with professionalism and with compassion ... but we’re going to do it."

Albence said the issue is "solvable"  and offered to provide "technical assistance" to Congress moving forward.

"These are solvable problems," he said. "We’ve talked about the loophole that exists with regard to things that are happening on the border but we’ve been asking for something to be done with the detainer situation."

"A lot of these jurisdictions that want to cooperate with us can’t because the detainer has not been codified properly within the federal code. If we get that fixed, that will bring some of the jurisdictions back to the table."

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Albence added, "We're willing and able to provide technical assistance to Congress at any time with regard to how to solve these problems."

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.