Trump Administration Plans ICE Raids in Sanctuary Cities Just Before Election

By Shani Saxon Oct 01, 2020

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is prepping for a rash of immigration raids across the country that will target people living in sanctuary cities, according to a September 29 report in The Washington Post. Three U.S. officials who spoke to The Post described a plan that aligns with President Donald Trump’s election campaign messaging that he is the "law and order" president. 

Reports The Post:

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation, known informally as the “sanctuary op,” could begin in California as soon as later this week. It would then expand to cities including Denver and Philadelphia, according to two of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive government law enforcement plans.

In an effort to make this operation appear necessary and urgent, Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, will travel to at least one of the sanctuary jurisdictions, which are locales that do not cooperate with the federal government to deport immigrants of undocumented status. Jurisdictions with sanctuary policies generally refuse to hold immigrants in jail longer that what’s required, which makes it more difficult for ICE officers to take them into custody. Wolf’s presence would “boost President Trump’s claims that leaders in those cities have failed to protect residents from dangerous criminals,” according to two officials interviewed for the report. 

According to The Post:

Trump has inveighed against sanctuary jurisdictions throughout his presidency, and he has expanded those attacks to include Democratic mayors in cities convulsed by racial justice demonstrations and sporadic rioting after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The immigration operation would sync with two themes of Trump’s reelection campaign: his crackdown on immigration and his push to vilify cities led by Democrats, whom he blames for crime and violence. 

This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has threatened to make sweeping arrests in sanctuary cities. As The Post reports, the president once created a plan to bus immigrants from the border to cities like San Francisco and other Democrat-run cities. And in another brash attempt at targeting immigrant families, he pushed hard last year to execute a “family op” that targeted migrant parents with children, according to The Post. That plan ultimately didn’t yield the number of arrests Trump was hoping to achieve.

News of previous operations has forced immigrants of undocumented status in various cities to go deeper underground, "fearing that they might be arrested and deported while their children—sometimes U.S. citizens—will be left behind," according to The Post.

Officials in sanctuary jurisdictions told The Post that their policies help to "preserve community trust in immigrant neighborhoods."