Feb 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Border officers to team up with ICE in sanctuary city crackdown

An anti-ICE protest inside the main hall at Grand Central Station. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Specially trained border officials are being deployed to a handful of sanctuary cities to help carry out an immigrant arrest operation to begin this weekend alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The administration has made several efforts over the past few weeks to crack down on states and cities that choose not to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agencies.

From February through May, at least 100 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers will be sent to cities including Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, according to the Times. Not all are considered sanctuary cities.

  • Some of the agents are members of an elite tactical unit of CBP.
  • Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence told the Times the action was in response to sanctuary jurisdictions, where law enforcement often refuse to hold unauthorized immigrants in criminal custody for ICE agents to pick up.
  • Albence blamed sanctuary areas for releasing "criminals back to the street," which he claimed "increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims."

The big picture: CBP has recently moved to end expedited airport processing programs for New Yorkers and the Justice Department has filed lawsuits against four different jurisdictions with immigration sanctuary-style policies.

Go deeper

Trump has declared war on sanctuary cities

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Armed with subpoenas, lawsuits and immigration SWAT teams, the Trump administration has declared war on sanctuary cities.

The big picture: President Trump and his administration have used every available tool to try to crack down on local governments that refuse to hold unauthorized immigrants in criminal custody, block immigration agents from working in county jails or deny federal authorities access to immigrants' records.

Court rules Trump administration can withhold funds from sanctuary cities

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration can withhold millions of dollars in federal law enforcement grants from sanctuary cities and states that don't cooperate with immigration enforcement, AP reports.

The state of play: Seven states and New York City sued the U.S. government after the Justice Department said in 2017 it would withhold funds from cities and states that don't give immigration enforcement officials access to jails or notice when an undocumented migrant is scheduled to be released from jail, per AP.

Justice Department files new immigration lawsuits against "sanctuary" areas

Attorney General Bill Barr Photo: Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday announced a slew of lawsuits targeting New Jersey, California and King County, Washington, over laws and policies that the agency claims make it harder to enforce federal immigration law.

Why it matters: The administration has long railed against "sanctuary cities" and has been rolling out retaliatory actions against states, counties and cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement.