WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents who normally patrol the U.S. border will be deployed to “sanctuary” cities across the country 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.
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 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.