Trump sends Border Patrol troops, ICE to U.S. sanctuary cities including Houston


Miguel A. Negron / Wiki Commons

Border Patrol agents will be having ICE assist them during the upcoming raids of sanctuary cities. The raids are occurring in response to President Trump’s recent orders.

President Trump is now sending an elite border patrol team, the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), to crack-down on sanctuary cities. These sanctuary cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit Newark, Chicago and New York.

Immigration agents will be directing these operations and overseeing the arrests made by BORTAC. According to The New York Times, the team will arrive with gear such as “stun grenades and enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification, the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.”

The common question arising in light of this decision is why send Border Patrol to non-border cities? BORTAC will be in attendance with ICE to enforce the tactical aspects of the crack-down. Border Patrol serves locations other than border-areas.

According to the Texas Tribune, arrests on immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally have decreased by 75% since this past May. The last raid was in mid-July in Houston, where law enforcement officials attempted to arrest thousands of immigrants. 

Sanctuary cities prohibit Border Patrol and ICE from entering their jails and accusing criminals of entering the United States illegally. When the cities have released the immigrants, ICE director Matthew T. Albance claims they could still be dangerous criminals, therefore, it is now Border Patrol and ICE’s duty to make such colossal arrests. He says the releases “increase the occurrence of preventable crimes and, more importantly, preventable victims.” Albance says these arrests, ahead of time, can prevent more crimes, assuming the majority of crimes in these cities are committed by immigrants. 

Freshman Jaqueline Garcia, a global studies major and Latinx studies minor said “My family lives in a sanctuary city, so when I saw the news he obviously was going to send the military patrol because these people are dangerous and are going to fight back, when in reality most immigrant communities are some of the safest communities in America.” Garcia commented, “ I’m not surprised that he sent the military patrol, but it’s actually horrible and this is just another example of how racist his policies are when it comes to brown immigrants, because you don’t see white immigrants being targeted this way. But Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, those are very Latino communities.”

To ensure further force of these raids and arrests, it is in the plans for Border Patrol to back-up ICE amidst the operations. Whereas, with typical ICE raides, the force cannot perform as well with the assistance of local law enforcement, having BORTAC allows them to exert their authority in hopes of a more successful round-up. 

However, not all involved in this plan are feeling too confident about it. The former commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Gil Kerlikowske, compared it to being a police chief and making an apprehension for a relatively minor offense, not to send the SWAT team.

In the same light, Kerlikowke sees this as a “significant mistake” on President Trump’s end, for the BORTAC is “trained for much more hazardous missions than that.” Overall, believing it to be dangerous to send such a big force into cities, an area for which they are not trained. 

Also in disagreement with the plan is Naureen Shah, with the American Civil Liberties Union, saying this is more in an effort to “further militarize our streets” and can result in “deadly effects.”

Since the plan was announced, the San Diego Police Department is now cooperating with ICE to push for further arrests.

President Trump last delivered a speech with Maria Fuentes on Feb.15, as she shared the story of her grandmother murdered by an illegal immigrant. In an effort to push for raids in sanctuary cities, the story further emphasized Trump’s belief that all immigrants are dangerous.