SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Federal agents who normally patrol the U.S. border will be deployed to “sanctuary” cities across the country, including San Francisco, that are hindering stepped up immigration enforcement, officials said Friday.
The deployment of Customs and Border Patrol agents, some with tactical training, to the interior of the country is unusual and represents another escalation in the confrontation between the Trump administration and local jurisdictions that are resisting stricter immigration enforcement.
Political analyst Paul Henderson told KPIX 5 that he believes it was a calculated plan from the president.
“I’m not surprised that we’re seeing the administration what they can try to do stir the pot or move things forward as another attack on sanctuary cities, but this is not a unique thing,” said legal analyst Paul Henderson. “Realistically the hundred agents are going to be spread amongst the 10 or so cities.”
“Of the 100 that are being deployed, we’re not even sure how many of those numbers are going to end up in the various states or in California specifically, but I think it’s clear their purpose is to make arrests.”
Meanwhile, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf — an outspoken critic of ICE tactics — told the agents to stay away from her city.
“Don’t bring it to Oakland,” she said in a Twitter post. “Our residents deserve safety + sanctuary in our streets — not tactical border agents. Oakland will remain the most unapologetic sanctuary city in America.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was also critical of the stepped immigration efforts.
“San José does not cooperate with ICE and rejects this Administration’s tactics of fear tearing our families apart,” he posted on Twitter. “Our community has rights, and we encourage San Joséans to report ICE activity to the Rapid Response Network (408-290-1144) so we can better inform and protect our families, friends, and neighbors.”
“Multiple studies demonstrate that immigrants—including undocumented immigrants—commit crime at a substantially lower rate than native-born Americans,” he continued. “If this Administration really wants to invest in making our cities safer, I’d encourage them to take a page from President Bill Clinton and lead Congress to provide funding to boost local police forces to combat real crime.”
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence said additional forces are needed because sanctuary cities are releasing immigrants who are in the country without legal authorization from local jails before his agents can take them into custody.
“This effort requires a significant amount of additional time and resources,” Albence said in a statement. “When sanctuary cities release these criminals back to the street, it increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims.”
The acting director did not disclose where the agents would be deployed but an official, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose details not provided in the statement, said they would include major sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Boston.
Albence also did not provide details on the specific types of agents being deployed, but the official said they would come from varied U.S. locations and would include officers with tactical training that is typically intended to prepare them for potential confrontations with traffickers and other criminals.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that additional CBP agents will be sent to San Francisco. In the wake, the San Francisco Rapid Response Network condemned what it calls an “escalation” against sanctuary cities. The group runs a 24-7 hotline that people can call to report ICE activity in their neighborhood.
“We are ready to respond with power and not panic. Sending a message to the community, we have to prepare. California has always stood strong against these attacks, so we are going to continue standing strong,” said Abigail Salazar with SFRRN.
About 100 specially trained officers will be deployed to work with ICE.
“The crisis at the border affects communities throughout the United States and has a huge impact on ICE. The crisis at the border led to a significant increase in the number of non-detained cases which surpassed 3.2 million in FY19, up from 2.6 million in FY18 and 2.4 million in FY17. With 5,300 ERO law enforcement officers – some of whom were detailed to the border – ICE does not have sufficient resources to effectively manage the sustained increase in non-detained cases which is exacerbated by the rise of sanctuary jurisdictions. The CBP agents and officers who are being detailed to help ICE come from a number of different sectors and job positions. While some of them are trained in tactical operations, that is one of the many areas of training. These officers have also been trained in routine immigration enforcement actions which is what they have been asked to do. All CBP officers and agents are FLETC-trained, just like ICE, and are more than capable of helping ICE fulfill their mission,” the DHS said in a statement.
The deployment, first reported by The New York Times, comes as President Donald Trump and others in his administration look to increase pressure on the sanctuary city movement.
The Justice Department this week filed one lawsuit against New Jersey for prohibiting state and local law enforcement from sharing information about inmates in the U.S. illegally and another Washington state’s King County over a policy that prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from using the King County International Airport-Boeing Field for deportation flights.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security said it would bar New York residents from trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry because of state law that prohibits immigration agents from accessing motor vehicle records.
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and KPIX 5’s Betty Yu contributed to this report.