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NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 31 2018: Immigrant families and activists rallied outside the Tennessee State Capitol against HB 2315, a law that prohibits sanctuary city policies in the state. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 31 2018: Immigrant families and activists rallied outside the Tennessee State Capitol against HB 2315, a law that prohibits sanctuary city policies in the state. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Trump’s Government Attacks Sanctuary Cities Again

The Administration has redoubled its efforts to weaken the so-called Sanctuary Cities in its crusade to force through its new immigration laws.

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Just when we thought the impeachment scandal had been enough, the Trump Administration has returned to its anti-immigrant ways, this time deploying tactical law enforcement units in sanctuary cities across the country.

According to the New York Times, the units are being diverted from the southern border to join "a supercharged arrest operation" in retaliation to localities "that refuse to participate in immigration enforcement.”

The destinations of the trained officers so far have been cities such as Chicago and New York, people familiar with the operation told the Times. Additional agents are expected to go to other cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Newark.

Since his first year in office, President Trump has promised to put an end to Sanctuary Cities, jurisdictions that made the decision to limit their cooperation with national immigration agencies, in support of undocumented communities that fear deportation and separation from their families.

In January 2017, Trump signed Executive Order 13768 instructing the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to reduce federal funding to those jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with immigration agencies.

Faced with the refusal of some states such as California to cooperate even under the pressure of the budget cut, the State Department decided to introduce legal proceedings beginning in 2018, arguing that state laws "made it impossible for federal immigration officials to do their jobs.”

Meanwhile, according to the Migration Policy Institute at the time, 33 states decided to obey White House orders and introduced or enacted laws requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE.

Now, both Immigration and Customs Enforcement and ICE have joined forces to increase arrests of undocumented citizens in the interior of the country, a spokesman told the Times, "in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security.”

The special units sent to the Sanctuary Cities are known as BORTAC, the equivalent of SWAT but from the Border Patrol, and will have additional equipment –including stun grenades, sniper certification, and others– and are known for "conducting high-risk operations.”

But the governments of the Sanctuary Cities will not stand idly by.

The Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, in conjunction with Police Chief Michel Moore, released a video last Friday announcing that they would stand firm in their decision not to collaborate with ICE.

"Regardless of your immigration status, I want all Angeleno to know your city is on your side," Garcetti said on Twitter. "Here in Los Angeles, our police department does not coordinate with ICE or participate in immigration enforcement.”

For his part, Boston Senator Ed Markey announced at a forum on the census:

“This action by Donald Trump is just a part of his new dictatorship sense of what he can do. Enemies lists, terrorizing immigrants and making our country less safe,” he said. "If you are an immigrant and you’re in Boston, just know there are many people who have your back who are going to stand up for you."

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