A nationwide Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid last week dubbed “Safe City” arrested nearly 500 people, with many on track to be deported.
The raid focused on so-called “sanctuary cities” where jails did not allow entrance for ICE agents and where ICE detainers were not honored. From New York, 45 individuals were arrested.
While many were criminals convicted of felonies, there were also a considerable amount who were apprehended for more minor offenses.
According to ICE data, of the 498 arrested, 317 had criminal convictions, with the top being driving under the influence with 86 arrests. Among non-violent crimes were trespassing and unspecified traffic offenses. Of the total, 18 were gang members or affiliates.
ICE said some will face federal criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal re-entry after being previously deported. Those with outstanding orders of removal will be subject to immediate deportation. Those remaining, ICE claims, await a hearing before an immigration judge or have arrangements to be removed in the near future.
Charlie Baker, governor of Maryland where there were 50 arrests, critiqued ICE for targeting those not involved with serious crimes.
“I really do think the focus of these should be on convicted, dangerous criminals,” Baker told the Boston Herald. “Look, law enforcement resources are always stretched. The most effective thing the feds and, frankly, we can do to keep our streets safe is to focus on criminals.
ICE Acting Director Tom Homan said in a statement that because of sanctuary cities, ICE is being “forced” to dedicate more resources to these communities.
“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,” said ICE Acting Director Tom Homan.
However, it is still in doubt whether sanctuary cities truly create such a “magnet,” with other factors in play that also attract, or in some cases force, immigrants to come here undocumented.
While the immigrant community supports cracking down on gangs and violent felons, many immigrants are also being unjustly targeted for deportation, with due process being thrown out the window.
In general, the sanctuary cities are standing up to the overly zealous federal enforcement of immigration law that is tearing apart our families and communities.