If in 2015 his campaign was to call immigrants “Bad Hombres,” in 2020, Donald Trump wants to sweep the sanctuary cities of immigrants to boost his campaign for reelection.
According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration is preparing “an immigration enforcement blitz” next month that will focus on arrests in cities and jurisdictions that have adopted “sanctuary” policies.
The move was announced by three government officials who described “a plan with public messaging that echoes the president’s law-and-order campaign rhetoric,” the Post reported.
The ICE operation is informally known as “operation sanctuary” and could begin in California later this week, expanding to cities such as Denver and Philadelphia.
“Two officials with knowledge of plans for the sanctuary op described it as more of a political messaging campaign than a major ICE operation, noting that the agency already concentrates on immigration violators with criminal records and routinely arrests them without much fanfare,” the media added.
“We do not comment on any law enforcement sensitive issues that may adversely impact our officers and the public,” Mike Alvarez, an ICE spokesman, said Tuesday in response to questions about the planned raids. “However, every day as part of routine operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement targets and arrests criminal aliens and other individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws.”
Alvarez said jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with ICE increase risks for agents and the public.
“Generally speaking, as ICE has noted for years, in jurisdictions where cooperation does not exist, and ICE is not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, ICE is forced to arrest at-large criminal aliens out in the communities instead of under the safe confines of a jail,” he said.
In Philadelphia, for example, the city’s large pro-immigrant community took action on Wednesday, sharing information and restarting resistance training after the Washington Post report, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Our goal is not to cause panic, but our communities have a right to know and be prepared,” said Erika Guadalupe Nunez, executive director of Juntos, the South Philadelphia-based Latino advocacy group. “The recent news, it’s a concentrated effort to highlight the ‘law-and-order’ efforts of the Trump administration… We’re not going to allow these fear-mongering tactics to go unchallenged.
To complete its campaign strategy, the government is considering putting up posters of immigration violators in sanctuary cities, according to CNN, in what would be “an unprecedented move” in the country’s history.
The billboards would be placed by ICE “in at least one city” and would draw attention to immigrants who have committed crimes and been released by local authorities, in a direct attack on the Democratic governors of the sanctuary cities.
The question that arises is where will the funding for these fences come from?
“How are they getting funding for it? How does that advance their mission?” said John Sandweg, formerly acting ICE director. “Running billboards, it’s political messaging.”
However, after the president held campaign rallies at the White House, and after everything we have learned about him, no abuse of power seems too far-fetched when it comes to Donald Trump.