The administration has made several efforts in recent weeks to take action against states and cities that choose not to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement agencies.
From February to May, at least 100 Customs and Border Protection Agents (CBP) officers will be sent to cities such as Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, according to the New York Times.
ICE interim director Matthew Albence told the New York Times that the action was in response to sanctuary jurisdictions, where police often refuse to keep unauthorized immigrants in criminal custody so that ICE agents can pick up.
Albence blamed the sanctuary areas for releasing “criminals back to the street,” which he says “increases the occurrence of preventable crimes and, more importantly, preventable victims.”
What is a sanctuary city
There are cities like Chicago that have adopted the title publicly and that have various policies that help the undocumented. Nevertheless, these cities are usually not at the center of the controversial decision to deliver or not to undocumented immigrants to the Immigration and Customs Service (ICE).
As usual they are county officials who receive orders from ICE (‘detainers’) to keep “deportable” immigrants detained who are about to be released from a prison.
In fact, between the 20 prisons who have received more ‘detainers’ from ICE in the last 15 years, only one (Rikers, in New York) is managed by one city, while four are managed by states and 15 by counties.
This is what Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in response:
“Today, the Trump administration made a move against our cities once again, pointing to immigrant and refugee communities at their usual display of fear and xenophobia. We will not be intimidated, period. Especially for a fight like the president.
I want you to know that Chicago is with you, we will always fight to keep you safe. We are a welcoming city and proud of it. And no amount of vitra will make us think otherwise.
I want to remind you how important it is for you to know your rights. Know that just because someone knocks on your door, you don’t have to answer. They need an order, signed by a judge, nothing less.
I also want to remind you that we have banned Chicago police officers and other city employees from helping federal agents in any civil immigration law enforcement effort. He has power and is not alone.
If anyone thinks they can come to our city to terrorize our residents in the shadows, let me say this: they have something else to come. Chicago will always stand firm and we will use all our tools to keep everyone safe. We are a big and proud city built by immigrants and refugees and we will always shine as a beacon of hope for the world.
We are your neighbors and we are with you. “
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