WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration employs highly skilled officials to help arrest unauthorized immigrants in a number of cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. This is the latest step in the fight against places that introduce protective measures “Protected Areas” from deportation.
Members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be among the officials deployed in cities to assist the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE). They will also be sent to San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Newark, New Jersey, CBP spokesman Lawrence Payne said in a statement on Friday.
Tactical Unit members are completing a “stressful” training program aimed at “reflecting” aspects of US Special Operation Forces courses, according to details of the program published on the CBP website. The unit was launched in 1984 in response to unrest in immigration detention centers.
Numerous democratically controlled cities and districts have taken measures to limit cooperation with the federal immigration service. They are a target for Republican President Donald Trump, who has made immigration a key part of his re-election campaign.
The move, first reported by the New York Times, to strengthen ICE support in destination cities marks the recent escalation in the government’s fight against these locations, just days after the Department of Justice filed lawsuits against the state of New Jersey and King County, Washington, where Seattle is located.
The Department of Homeland Security said last week that it would prevent New Yorkers from getting new and renewed Global Entry passports and participating in three programs that enable faster travel between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, affecting hundreds of thousands of travelers could.
“ICE uses CBP to complement enforcement activities in response to resource problems arising from protected area policies,” said ICE Executive Director Matthew T. Albence. “As we have seen for years, our officials in jurisdictions where we are not allowed to take custody of foreigners from prisons are forced to arrest criminal foreigners who have been released into communities as a whole.”
Deployment will run from February to May, the New York Times reported, citing a CBP email.
The move has been criticized by some, including Ayanna Pressley, a Democratic congresswoman from Massachusetts, whose Boston district belongs.
“Let us be clear that this step has nothing to do with public security, but is only to advance the Trump administration’s agenda to intimidate and retaliate against cities that preserve the dignity and humanity of our immigrant neighbors,” said them in a statement sent by email. “We won’t stand for it.”
(Reporting by Ted Hesson; Additional reporting and writing by Chris Prentice; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler)