WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to reports, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the directive of the Trump Administration, will be conducting a series of immigration enforcement raids in at least three so-called “sanctuary cities” this month – those which offer refuge to immigrants that are in the United States illegally.
The cities being targeted by ICE include California, Denver and Philadelphia; additional cities may also experience enforcement action as well, reports say. California will likely be the first state where the operation – known as a “sanctuary op” – could take place, with raids being conducted as early as this week; Denver and Philadelphia would be next to follow.
Chad Wolf, Acting Homeland Security Secretary, will likely be visiting one of the regions targeted for enforcement. President Trump has called for sanctuary cities to no longer receive federal funding. An ICE spokesperson noted that being forced to conduct raids due to the lack of assistance and cooperation from local authorities in sanctuary cities is an unnecessary risk for all involved.
“ICE is forced to arrest at-large criminal aliens out in the communities instead of under the safe confines of a jail,” the spokesperson said.
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A “sanctuary city” is a municipal jurisdiction that limits their cooperation with the government’s effort to enforce immigration law. Many outright forbid local law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities, especially when it comes to detaining an undocumented arrestee for ICE, or alerting feds when an illegal immigrant has been released from police custody.
Supporters of the concept say that the practice keeps communities safe and fosters trust between illegal immigrants and police. However, many who are against sanctuary cities argue that not cooperating with ICE when releasing detainees can put potentially dangerous undocumented criminals back on the streets.
An example of this recently happening was in Denver, where local police arrested a Honduran man in the country illegally after he allegedly sexually assaulted a child, but refused to detain him for federal agents; instead, Denver PD allowed Celin Villeda-Orellana, 33, to post bail, and he was later arrested by ICE at Denver International Airport while possibly attempting to leave the country.
ICE recently announced the results of raids conducted in July and August, with over 2,000 illegal immigrants taken into custody; of that number, approximately 85 percent had pending or criminal convictions.