US Border Patrol Will Deploy Elite SWAT Agents to Sanctuary Cities

21:25  14 february  2020
21:25  14 february  2020 Source:   nytimes.com

Daytona trooper killed in 1961 ambush memorialized with highway signs

  Daytona trooper killed in 1961 ambush memorialized with highway signs A portion of a highway in Duval County will now be known as the Trooper Edwin J. Gasque Memorial Highway, named after a lawman who was as former baseball pitcher who played for the Daytona Beach Islanders in the 1950s. The 5-mile stretch of U.S. 301 near Baldwin honors his life after being killed in the line of duty for the Florida Highway Patrol in 1961. Gasque and his family lived in Daytona Beach when he was killed. Before becoming a state trooper he played many years for the Islanders and won 20 games as a pitcher in a single season. He hung up his cleats in 1958 in search of a more secure job.He was sworn in as a Florida Highway Patrol in August 1959 and on Oct.

The Trump administration is deploying law enforcement tactical units from the southern border as part of a supercharged arrest operation in sanctuary cities across the country, an escalation in the president’s battle against localities that refuse to participate in immigration enforcement.

An agent with the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit, known as BORTAC, an elite group that functions essentially as the SWAT of Border Patrol.© Adrees Latif/Reuters An agent with the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit, known as BORTAC, an elite group that functions essentially as the SWAT of Border Patrol.

The specially trained officers are being sent to cities including Chicago and New York to boost the enforcement power of local ICE officers, according to two officials who are familiar with the secret operation. Additional agents are expected to be sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.

Paramedics now carry guns on some SWAT teams in Tampa Bay area

  Paramedics now carry guns on some SWAT teams in Tampa Bay area When most SWAT medics followed heavily-armed officers through doorways in Florida, the medical professionals carried empty holsters and triage supplies to help wounded cops. Those holsters are no longer empty. The SWAT medics can now carry firearms to protect themselves and others in case a shooting erupts. A law that took effect in July gave sheriffs and police chiefs authority to equip medical personnel with weapons when they respond with SWAT teams to high-risk encounters such as active shooters and hostage situations.“When they go to a SWAT call out, their holsters are empty," Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said about situations before the law change.

Sign Up For the Morning Briefing Newsletter

The move reflects President Trump’s persistence in cracking down on sanctuary cities, localities that have refused to cooperate in handing over immigrants targeted for deportation to federal authorities. It comes soon after the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security announced a series of measures that will affect both American citizens and immigrants living in those places.

Lawrence Payne, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, confirmed the agency was deploying 100 officers to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducts arrests in the interior of the country, “in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security.”

US Border Patrol agents: part bloodhound, part police, part rescuer

  US Border Patrol agents: part bloodhound, part police, part rescuer Operating in remote and inhospitable terrain miles from anywhere, Border Patrol agents are on the frontlines of a wave of Central American migrants heading into the US that has prompted a crackdown by President Donald Trump .AFP journalists accompanied the Border Patrol for three days in Texas, documenting the routine of the agents tasked with guarding the frontier amid growing controversy over Trump's immigration policy."If we were born somewhere else, we would do the same," Thaddeus Cleveland, the agent in charge of the Border Patrol station in Sanderson, Texas, said of the northward-bound migrants he encounters.

The deployment of the teams will run from February through May, according to an email sent to Customs and Border Protection personnel, which was read to The New York Times by one official familiar with the planning.

Among the agents being deployed to sanctuary cities are members of the elite tactical unit known as BORTAC, which acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol. With additional gear such as stun grenades and enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification, the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.

a couple of people that are standing in the street: Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arresting undocumented immigrants during a raid in Brooklyn in 2018.© John Moore/Getty Images Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arresting undocumented immigrants during a raid in Brooklyn in 2018.

The unit’s work often takes place in the most rugged and swelteringly hot areas of the border. It can involve breaking into stash houses maintained by smuggling operations that are known to be filled with drugs and weapons.

The Undocumented Agent

  The Undocumented Agent After spending nearly two decades facilitating deportations as a Customs and Border Protection officer, Raul Rodriguez discovered that he was not a U.S. citizen. Now he’s at risk of deportation himself.For nearly two decades, Rodriguez had searched for people and drugs hidden in cargo waiting to get into the United States. He was proud of his work as a Customs and Border Protection officer; it gave him stability and a sense of purpose. Even in the spring of 2018, when public scrutiny of CBP began to intensify—the agency had officially started separating children from their parents—Rodriguez remained committed to his job.

In sanctuary cities, the BORTAC agents will be asked to support interior officers in run-of-the-mill immigration arrests, the officials said. Their presence could spark new fear in immigrant communities that have been on high alert under the stepped-up deportation and detention policies adopted after Mr. Trump took office.

In a statement, ICE’s acting director, Matthew T. Albence, said the deployment comes in response to policies adopted by sanctuary cities, which have made it harder for immigration agents to do their jobs.

“As we have noted for years, in jurisdictions where we are not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, our officers are forced to make at-large arrests of criminal aliens who have been released into communities,” he said. “When sanctuary cities release these criminals back to the street, it increases the occurrence of preventable crimes, and more importantly, preventable victims.”

But Gil Kerlikowske, the former commissioner of C.B.P., which oversees tactical units along the border, said sending the officers to conduct immigration enforcement within cities, where they are not trained to work, could escalate situations that are already volatile. He called the move a “significant mistake.”

New ICE crackdown in sanctuary cities sparks backlash

  New ICE crackdown in sanctuary cities sparks backlash LOS ANGELES - Law enforcement officials are pushing back against a new federal immigration push to add more resources in sanctuary cities as the Trump administration continues to target those migrants who have entered the U.S. without legal documents. The relationship between ICE and many local law enforcement agencies has long been fraught. Since Trump took office, it has grown only more tenuous as police grapple with maintaining communication with ICE while also balancing transparency with community and civic leaders. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

“If you were a police chief and you were going to make an apprehension for a relatively minor offense, you don’t send the SWAT team. And BORTAC is the SWAT team,” said Mr. Kerlikowske, who is the former chief of police in Seattle. “They’re trained for much more hazardous missions than this.”

The Border Patrol squads will be charged with backing up ICE agents during deportation operations and standing by as a show of force, the officials said.

ICE agents typically seek out people with criminal convictions or multiple immigration violations as their primary targets for deportation, but family members and friends are often swept up in the enforcement net in what are known as “collateral” arrests, and many such people could now be caught up in any enhanced operations.

ICE leadership requested the help in sanctuary jurisdictions because agents there often struggle to track down undocumented immigrants without the help of the police and other state and local agencies. Law enforcement officers in areas that refuse to cooperate with ICE and the Border Patrol — which include both liberal and conservative parts of the country — often argue that doing so pushes undocumented people further into the shadows, ultimately making cities less safe because that segment of the population becomes less likely to report crimes or cooperate with investigations.

Warren, Markey demand Border Patrol 'reverse course' on deploying SWAT teams to sanctuary cities

  Warren, Markey demand Border Patrol 'reverse course' on deploying SWAT teams to sanctuary cities Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey demanded over the weekend that Customs and Border Protection "reverse course" on its decision to send specially trained agents to sanctuary cities to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement capture illegal immigrants in those locales. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

The goal of the new joint operation, one of the officials said, was to increase arrests in the sanctuary jurisdictions by at least 35 percent.

The operation reflects an increasingly hawkish approach to immigration enforcement, following the firings and resignations of leaders who have been viewed in the White House as unwilling to take the harsh steps Mr. Trump and his advisers view as necessary to slow illegal immigration.

Other recent attempts at aggressive enforcement by ICE have faltered, such as a series of raids targeting more than 2,000 migrant families that were planned during the summer of 2019. Mr. Trump’s advance warnings on Twitter led many of those who were targeted to refuse to open their front doors, and ultimately, only 35 of those who had been targeted were arrested in the operation’s first several weeks.

Even with the added show of force from BORTAC, agents will be limited in their abilities compared to the police or sheriff’s deputies. Unlike operations on the border, where BORTAC agents may engage in armed confrontations with drug smuggling suspects using armored vehicles, immigration agents in cities are enforcing civil, rather than criminal infractions. They are not allowed to forcibly enter properties in order to make arrests, and the presence of BORTAC agents, while helpful in boosting the number of agents on the ground, may prove most useful for the visual message it sends.

The agents will not be busting down doors or engaging in shootouts, said one official with direct knowledge of the operation, who like the other official would not be identified because he was not authorized to discuss it.

Trump's war on sanctuary cities is about more than politics

  Trump's war on sanctuary cities is about more than politics The Trump administration is trying to make America a successful “immigration nation” once again. Far from being a part of the solution, sanctuary cities are part of the problem.

Many ICE agents say their jobs have become increasingly difficult, three years into Mr. Trump’s presidency, because of robust campaigns by immigrant advocacy organizations seeking to safeguard undocumented immigrants by educating them on the legal limitations that ICE officers face. As a result, in many communities where undocumented immigrants live, when ICE agents are spotted, people now turn immediately to their phones to alert neighbors that they should stay inside.

Mr. Trump campaigned on a promise to crack down on sanctuary cities. Within a few months of taking office, the Justice Department moved to withhold certain federal funds from the jurisdictions. Last week, the Justice Department filed suit against state and local governments in California, New Jersey and Washington over sanctuary policies there. Also this month, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would ban New Yorkers from enrolling in programs that allow travelers to speed through customs checkpoints in airports and at the border as a result of the state’s decision to offer drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants and bar Homeland Security agencies from accessing the state’s motor vehicle database.

The president again highlighted the issue in his State of the Union address, arguing that sanctuary cities “release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public.”

In January, a New York City Council member wrote an open letter for his fellow councilors expressing concern about increasing ICE activity in the region, including collateral arrests. Last week, an acquaintance of a man in New York who was being arrested by ICE was shot in an incident that the agency later blamed on sanctuary policies.

The aggressive immigration enforcement tactics being implemented around the country are not limited to any one agency. In a widely circulated video recorded in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday night, Border Patrol agents are shown subduing and using a Taser to apprehend a man in a Burger King restaurant.

The video shows the man pleading repeatedly with the agents while shouting that he had done nothing wrong. A female bystander asks the agents to leave the restaurant, as she cries while witnessing the episode. While the man was writhing in pain on the floor after being stunned repeatedly, another woman in the video approached the agents and asked, “Why are you still hitting him?”

A Border Patrol spokesman said in a statement that the apprehended man was a “suspected alien smuggler,” without offering any evidence to support that assertion. The spokesman did not respond to a request for the man’s name and nationality.

“The man refused to cooperate with the verbal instructions and attempted to avoid being handcuffed and a struggle ensued,” the Border Patrol spokesman said.

In the same statement, the spokesman said that a “citizen” had notified law enforcement of a suspicious vehicle parked on his property. The Border Patrol said the man apprehended by the agents on Tuesday was the driver of the vehicle and that “record checks indicated that the man was in the country illegally and had a positive criminal history.”

An ICE spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of the latest effort in sanctuary cities, citing the agency’s policy against sharing information about enforcement operations before they have taken place. However, the spokesman added that the agency had “made it abundantly clear for years that, in jurisdictions where we are not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, our officers would be redirected to make at-large arrests.”

Simon Romero, Miriam Jordan and Annie Correal contributed reporting.

U.N. says it fears 'bloodbath' in northwest Syria, Russia denies mass displacements .
U.N. says it fears 'bloodbath' in northwest Syria, Russia denies mass displacementsSyrian troops backed by Russian air power have been battling since December to eliminate the last rebel strongholds in the region in a war that has killed an estimated 400,000 Syrians, displaced millions more and left much of the country in ruins.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 1
This is interesting!