The Trump is administration is deploying tactical units into multiple sanctuary cities as part of an effort to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in its campaign to detain migrants.
The units are being deployed “in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security,” Customs and Border Protection spokesman Lawrence Payne told the New York Times.
According to an email sent to CBP personnel, the deployment of the tactical teams will run from February through May.
The elite units, described by the Times as the “SWAT team of the border patrol,” will have gear such as stun grenades and have gone through training like that of the Special Forces. According to the outlet, “the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.”
The planned deployment will affect cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Newark, New Jersey.
ICE already operates in those cities and the deployment will add an increased degree of militarism to its immigration operations.
Donald Trump has often attacked and criticized sanctuary cities as part of his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
“The state of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole state to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants — a very terrible sanctuary — with catastrophic results,” Trump said in his recent State of the Union address.
At a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump complained about “left-wing politicians” who “support sanctuary cities that release criminal aliens directly into the American community.”
Under Trump, immigrant communities have expressed fears about agencies like ICE coming into communities and separating families from each other. In some instances, ICE has even apprehended and detained American citizens, despite claims that they only target migrants.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said that he would use a “deportation force” to remove 11 million immigrants from the United States.
“You’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely,” he claimed at the time.
Multiple studies have shown that migrants are statistically far less likely to commit crimes than natural-born U.S. citizens.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.