ICE preparing targeted arrests in sanctuary cities, amplifying president’s campaign theme

By Nick Miroff and Devlin Barrett | The Washington Post

The Trump administration is preparing an immigration enforcement blitz next month that would target arrests in U.S. cities and jurisdictions that have adopted “sanctuary” policies, according to three U.S. officials who described a plan with public messaging that echoes the president’s law-and-order campaign rhetoric.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation, known informally as the “sanctuary op,” could begin in California as soon as later this week. It would then expand to cities including Denver and Philadelphia, according to two of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive government law enforcement plans.

Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, likely will travel to at least one of the jurisdictions where the operation will take place to boost President Trump’s claims that leaders in those cities have failed to protect residents from dangerous criminals, two officials said.


“ICE operations like this take place periodically, such as one that recently occurred in Phoenix in the area of 27th avenue and Indian School Road. The focus is typically on immigrants with criminal records or previous deportations. With the announcement that this operation will take place in sanctuary cities close to an election, the news seems to be more about garnering attention and political messaging than accomplishing any real enforcement objective. That being said, it is especially important these days for immigrants and their families to be on notice and informed of their rights.”

Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Chair
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September 2020