Trump administration preparing targeted ICE arrests in sanctuary cities: report

The Trump administration is preparing a series of immigration enforcement actions targeting sanctuary cities leading up to the November general election, sources told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation is known informally as the “sanctuary op” and could reportedly begin as soon as this week in California and eventually move to cities including Denver and Philadelphia. 

So-called sanctuary cities have policies in place that restrict the extent to which local law enforcement cooperate with federal immigration officials. The president and other Republicans have strongly criticized those cities and their often Democratic mayors. 

Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf is expected to travel to at least one of the cities where these arrests will take place to emphasize some of the president’s immigration-related campaign promises. 

Sources described the operation to the Post as more of a political stunt than a major operation. 

ICE spokesperson did not confirm the operation to The Hill but emphasized that enforcement action by the agency prioritizes immigrants with criminal records. Most arrests by ICE take place after they have been notified about an immigrant’s pending release from jails or state prisons.   

“For the safety of our officers and the public, ICE does not comment on leaked operations,” they said. “… 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.”

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