According to Lawrence Payne, a spokesman for the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, CBP will be aiding the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency “in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety and strengthen our national security”.
Payne said that 100 agents from Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), will collaborate with ICE in enhancing immigration enforcement activities in New York and Chicago.
He said more CBP agents will be deployed soon in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, New Jersey.
According to the New York Times, BORTAC is an elite tactical unit the goes through Special Forces-type training, carry stun grenades, and acts “essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol.
BORTAC agents receive “enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification,” and “the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.”
However, the mayors in these cities say they want to reduce fear of deportation and possible family break-up among immigrants who are in the US illegally, so that such immigrants will be more willing to report crimes, use health and social services, and enrol their children in school.
But ICE's acting director, Matthew T Albence, in a statement. Said “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.”
“When sanctuary cities release these criminals back to the street, it increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims,” Albence added.
In recent weeks, ICE said it has issued immigration subpoenas to authorities in Connecticut, New York City and Denver, Colorado, after announcing it will exercise its “longstanding legal authority to request critical information required to enforce federal immigration law from jurisdictions that adamantly refuse to cooperate.”
Former CBP commissioner Gil Kerlikowske calls the decision a “significant mistake.”
“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, a former chief of police in Seattle, told the Times. “They’re trained for much more hazardous missions than this.”
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