The Trump administration is planning to execute an Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation to target arrests in cities with “sanctuary” policies before the election in order to emphasize President Donald Trump’s law-and-order campaign rhetoric, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
According to U.S. officials, the operation could start as early as this week and will soon expand to other cities, with Department of Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf expected to visit at least one of the places to stress Trump’s contention that Democrat-run cities have failed to protect residents from violent criminals.
Two officials described the opertion as geared towards the election, rather than a major new effort, as ICE already routinely arrests immigration violators with criminal records without much publicity.
In response to questions from the Post about the operation, ICE spokesman Mike Alvarez on Tuesday said “We do not comment on any law enforcement sensitive issues that may adversely impact our officers and the public. However, every day as part of routine operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement targets and arrests criminal aliens and other individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws.”
Alvarez added that cities that don’t cooperate with ICE increase risks for agents and the public, because “in jurisdictions where cooperation does not exist and ICE is not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, ICE is forced to arrest at-large criminal aliens out in the communities instead of under the safe confines of a jail.”
Officials in “sanctuary cities” contend their policies help keep trust in immigrant neighborhoods, which encourages residents to report crimes and cooperate with authorities without fear of being deported.
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