President Trump is doubling down on his feud with sanctuary cities as he sends in elite tactical units to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the fight against illegal immigration.
The units are needed to help ICE agents and “to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security,” Customs and Border Protection spokesman Lawrence Payne said.
BORTAC units or the “SWAT team of the border patrol” will be sent to Chicago and New York and Trump will send more agents, though it is not clear if he will send BORTAC units, to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.
From The New York Times:
Among the agents being deployed to sanctuary cities are members of the elite tactical unit known as BORTAC, which acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol. With additional gear such as stun grenades and enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification, the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.
The unit’s work often takes place in the most rugged and swelteringly hot areas of the border. It can involve breaking into stash houses maintained by smuggling operations that are known to be filled with drugs and weapons.
In sanctuary cities, the BORTAC agents will be asked to support interior officers in run-of-the-mill immigration arrests, the officials said. Their presence could spark new fear in immigrant communities that have been on high alert under the stepped-up deportation and detention policies adopted after Mr. Trump took office.
In a statement, ICE’s acting director, Matthew T. Albence, said the deployment comes in response to policies adopted by sanctuary cities, which have made it harder for immigration agents to do their jobs.
“As we have noted for years, in jurisdictions where we are not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, our officers are forced to make at-large arrests of criminal aliens who have been released into communities,” he said. “When sanctuary cities release these criminals back to the street, it increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims…
… The Border Patrol squads will be charged with backing up ICE agents during deportation operations and standing by as a show of force, the officials said.
ICE agents typically seek out people with criminal convictions or multiple immigration violations as their primary targets for deportation, but family members and friends are often swept up in the enforcement net in what are known as “collateral” arrests, and many such people could now be caught up in any enhanced operations.
ICE leadership requested the help in sanctuary jurisdictions because agents there often struggle to track down undocumented immigrants without the help of the police and other state and local agencies.