Border Patrol To Make Mass Arrests In Sanctuary Cities This Weekend
The Trump administration is deploying elite tactical agents to sanctuary cities across the country in what The New York Times described as a “supercharged” arrest operation, representing an escalation in President Donald Trump’s battle against cities that will not cooperate with immigration enforcement.
Units of specially trained law enforcement officers, generally deployed to the southern U.S. border to confront smugglers, will head to Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, New Jersey, according to two officials who spoke with The Times.
Trump has long decried localities that refuse to turn over immigrants targeted for deportation, widely known as sanctuary cities, and this latest move “comes soon after the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security announced a series of measures that will affect both American citizens and immigrants living in those places.”
Customs and Border Protection spokesman Lawrence Payne confirmed to The Times that 100 officers would be deployed to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to conduct arrests in the country’s interior.
Payne said the move was made “in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security.”
According to an email to CBP personnel, the special units will be deployed from February through May. The agents being deployed include “members of the elite tactical unit known as BORTAC, which acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol.”
BORTAC officers carry additional gear, The Times noted, such as stun guns, and they have enhanced Special Forces-type training, which includes sniper certification. These officers generally “conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.”
Now, they will be going into American cities to help ICE with run-of-the-mill arrests, which is likely to spark fear in the hearts of undocumented immigrants across the U.S.
Former CBP commissioner Gil Kerlikowske told The Times that sending these officers into cities — an environment where they are not trained to work — could spell trouble, escalating already volatile situations.
“If you were a police chief and you were going to make an apprehension for a relatively minor offense, you don’t send the SWAT team. And BORTAC is the SWAT team,” Kerlikowske said. “They’re trained for much more hazardous missions than this.”