A federal operation to arrest undocumented immigrants this week netted nearly 500 people in cities and states that have openly opposed the Trump administration’s deportation initiatives.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday that its four-day “Operation Safe City” targeted people in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore as well as Cook County, Illinois, Santa Clara County in California’s Bay Area, Portland, Oregon, and Massachusetts.
Officials in those places — some referring to themselves as “sanctuary” communities — have been vocal about not fully cooperating with federal immigration authorities, at times clashing with state leaders who support President Donald Trump’s agenda. Sanctuary communities have passed ordinances limiting compliance with federal immigration laws and seek to shield undocumented immigrants who may be deported simply over their immigration statuses or low-level criminal offenses.
“Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration,” Tom Homan, ICE’s acting director, said in a statement. “As a result, ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities.”
It is not unusual for ICE to round up immigrants by the hundreds or even low thousands, although the latest raid comes on the heels of a planned operation that would have targeted about 8,400 undocumented immigrants this month.