Officers will aid ICE in sanctuary cities where local police do not cooperate
The Trump administration has begun deploying Border Patrol Tactical Units (BORTAC), a specialized task force of highly-trained Border Patrol agents, to various sanctuary cities around the country.
At least 100 BORTAC officers plan to aid Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers already in the areas, with assistance beginning in February and continuing until May.
Agents are expected to be sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.
Cincinnati, though declared by Mayor John Cranley to be a sanctuary city in 2017, is not federally designated to be a sanctuary city and will not receive BORTAC agents.
“A lot of the sanctuary cities are the ones with the larger drug populations, then as long as they’re really targeting criminals, then I’d probably support it,” first-year Politics, Philosophy and the Public major Andrew Titgemeyer said.
BORTAC is commonly referred to analogously as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol.
Officers within this division are equipped with additional technology and weaponry, including stun grenades and sniper training.
Former Border Patrol Director Gil Kerlikowske said that he believes the introduction of BORTAC officers into sanctuary cities is a mistake, citing their extensive training for work at the border.
“If you were a police chief and you were going to make an apprehension for a relatively minor offense, you don’t send the SWAT team. And BORTAC is the SWAT team,” Kerlikowske said.
BORTAC officers are typically utilized in operations targeting high-level criminals believed to pose major threats to U.S. safety.
Officers assisting ICE raids in sanctuary cities are expected to be asked to assist in missions with lower danger levels.
Unlike usual BORTAC assignments, agents will enforce civil and not criminal infractions. BORTAC agents are not permitted to enter properties without consent for the purpose of making an arrest.
Acting ICE Director Mike Albance stated in a press release that this update is a response to the difficulties that sanctuary cities cause ICE by not cooperating.
“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,” Albance said.
Officials have stated that the goal of the operation is to increase arrests in sanctuary jurisdictions by 35%.
“I think it’s kind of anti-American in its basis to fill some sort of agenda of percentage; it just seems awful,” first-year theater performance major Dylan Waters said.
“There’s not really any good way for immigrants to deal with the immigration process, because it’s so difficult to be able to do it legally,” first-year economics major Jaylen Loza said. “I think that the fact that he’s going and personally attacking sanctuary cities because he knows there (are) immigrants there is… messed up.”
BORTAC agents are expected to continue or increase their presence in sanctuary cities until at least May, when their effectiveness in those areas will be reexamined by security officials.
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