BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Senator Ed Markey has called President Trump's plan to send Border Patrol agents into U.S. sanctuary cities "another racist action by Donald Trump."
Senator Markey's comments came one day after the Trump Administration announced it will deploy 100 tactical Border Patrol officers to ten U.S. cities between February and May. Those cities are Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, New Orleans, Detroit, and Newark N.J.
"He wants to make America great again by making America hate again," Senator Markey told WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small during an event in Roxbury on Saturday.
"He wants immigrant families to live in fear that there could be a knock on the door in the middle of the night," Markey said. "This is wrong."
According to the Trump Administration, the new plan aims to relocate "100 elite border patrol agents" from the southern border to assist local immigration officers in pursuing migrants in so-called sanctuary cities.
A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, Lawrence Payne said the move is meant to "enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security."
Among the agents being deployed are the elite tactical unit known as BORTAC, which is essentially a SWAT team for Border Patrol that uses additional gear like stun grenades. Members go through enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification. Officers are known to typically conduct high-risk operations, targeting violent individuals like drug traffickers on the southern border.
Senator Ed Markey said he is not happy those high-level tactical officers will soon be searching for people in Massachusetts communities. "We believe we can protect families, and protect public safety, by ensuring that they know they are safe in their homes."
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also weighed in, calling Boston "one of the safest cities in America," adding that "policies aimed at sowing division and fear are ultimately counterproductive and harmful."
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence said the deployment of additional forces is needed to make "at-large arrests" of anyone without legal authorization to be in the country who has been released from local jails in sanctuary cities.
"When sanctuary cities release these criminals back to the street, it increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims," Albance said.
Senior advocacy and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, Naureen Shah, called the plan "dangerous," adding that "it will put lives at risk by further militarizing our streets."
Shah has pointed to several studies which, based on the government's own data, found sanctuary cities actually increase a city's safety, including this 2019 report by U.C. San Diego, which found people living in the U.S. without legal authorization are less likely to report a crime if they think it could get them deported.
According to researchers and several local law enforcement departments, that means crime gets reported less in cities without a sanctuary policy, effectively making those areas a more dangerous place to live.
According to a 2017 study by the Center for American Progress, U.S. counties with sanctuary policies have lower rates of crime, and stronger economies, than those that don't have sanctuary policies.
Based on U.S. government data, counties with sanctuary policies had an average of 35.5 fewer crimes per 10,000 people than counties that don't have sanctuary policies.
Sanctuary counties also have an average poverty rate that is 2.3 percent lower, and an average median household income that is $4,353 higher than nonsanctuary counties.
WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports: