Among the 100 officers being deployed to cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Newark, were members of BORTAC—which the Times says "acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol," using Special Forces training.
But while they usually deal with smuggling operations on the United States' southern border, they'll now be sent to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in sanctuary cities.
Sanctuary cities are cities whose municipal laws seek to protect undocumented immigrants from being deported or persecuted solely because of their documentation status, in defiance of federal law.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley issued a statement about the deployment Friday evening, saying the move has nothing to do with public safety, instead serving the Trump administration's "agenda to intimidate and retaliate against cities that uphold the dignity and humanity of our immigrant neighbors." Here's the rest of her statement:
"We will not stand for this. Where this administration chooses cruelty, the City of Boston will choose compassion. We will do everything in our power to affirm the safety and humanity of our immigrant neighbors. I call on each of my colleagues in government in the City of Boston and targeted cities across the nation to affirm that we will not comply or cooperate with this abuse of power from the Trump Administration. We know our communities are made stronger by our immigrant neighbors and we will not turn our back on them in this time of persecution."
Also among those concerned with the deployment is Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. Somerville is also a sanctuary city.
"I want to note what ICE is doing isn't just running an ethnic scouring operation (though it absolutely is doing that), it's attempting to normalize police-state actions we traditionally have considered outrageous," he said. "An unaccountable police force can come for anybody.
Acting ICE director Matthew Albence told The Times the move to deploy the Border Patrol agents was in response to sanctuary city policies that make immigration agents' jobs harder to do.
“As we have noted for years, in jurisdictions where we are not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, our officers are forced to make at-large arrests of criminal aliens who have been released into communities,” he told The Times. “When sanctuary cities release these criminals back to the street, it increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims.”
The Times reported the teams' deployment will run from February through May.
(Photo: Getty Images)