According to a US Immigration official, ICE is not letting up on sanctuary cities, as federal-immigration agents are going after said areas in order to get local authorities to better assist them in rounding up illegals. Senior, ICE agents have planned to up their efforts in areas struggling to ultimately adhere to federal law.
Recently, upon an immigration hearing, a Texas-based US Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin disclosed ICE agents raided downtown Austin due to their sheriff failing to provide full support to federal officers. “[There’ve] been questions about whether Austin is being targeted. We had a briefing….that we could expect a big operation—agents coming in from out of town. There was going to be a specific operation, and it was at least related to us in that meeting that it was a result of the sheriff’s new policy that this was going to happen,” Austin explained in the court-provided audio. The recording is from US Magistrate Austin’s discussion with an ICE agent regarding a separate issue.
During a January forum with Austin, another magistrate and ICE agents, enforcement officers explained they were going to intervene, as Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez opted to enact a sanctuary policy rather than cooperate with federal agents.
As of February 2017, Sherriff Hernandez declared her team adhering to ICE detainers only under circumstances entailing murder, sexual assault, human trafficking, or a warrant being in place.
A Travis County Divided
Due to Hernandez’s decision, her department’s officially against pro-ICE state and local government—even the Texas Senate! More, Hernandez’s people will be hurting, as The Lone Star State now has a bill to fiscally penalize sanctuary cities—Texas Governor Greg Abbott even took away $1.5 million of the county’s funding.
And even while Hernandez stood her ground, ICE came in multiple raids—there were 51 captures in Austin (mere days upon the sheriff making her declaration). Folks were picking up on ICE’s retaliation. (Maybe Travis County should’ve reconsidered Hernandez at their sheriff?) Magistrate Austin’s words certainly haven’t helped the situation.
“My understanding, what was told to us, is that one of the reasons that happened was because the meetings that had occurred between the (ICE) field office director and the sheriff didn’t go very well,” Magistrate Austin said in the hearing. (Do ya’ think…?)
While Magistrate Austin was providing the narrative, Hernandez didn’t weigh in, as she wasn’t part of the judges-ICE discussion—ICE themselves dismissed any suggestive comments alluding to them intentionally raiding Travis Country. (…red tape.)
“Rumors and reports that recent ICE operations are specifically targeting Travis County, Texas, apart from normal operations, are inaccurate,” ICE wrote in a statement. But “more ICE, operational activity is required to conduct at-large arrests in any law-enforcement jurisdiction that fails to honor ICE, immigration detainers.”
By added “operational activity” in sanctuary cities, ICE is hoping it will be enough force to push local law into working with them—an anonymous, senior, immigration agent provided this information. More, after nationwide raids in February and 700 captures, many sanctuary cities are fearful the government interventions were intentional. However, ICE claimed their efforts were standard policy and scheduled back in Obama’s administration. But the anonymous agent stressed ICE’s operations hit hardest in sanctuary areas.
Additionally, upon a recent gathering of ICE agents and civilian organizations, an immigrant-friendly-company member said a senior, ICE officer explained their enforcement agency would do public and domestic dragnets if local authorities would give them access to state jails. She further explained they basically had the stance of help them or the raids would. She couldn’t believe the Center for Immigration Studies was asked to get involved. (Many have deemed this organization as an illegal-immigrant hate group.)
Back in 2003, the Bush administration enabled interactions between ICE and immigrant friendly entities—an effort to obtain community thoughts on enforcement plans and other thoughts on rounding up illegals. ICE did not disclose who may’ve been involved in those meetings.
ICE: Operations Are Pre-Planned
Immigration & Customs Enforcement stands by the claim of its actions not being in retaliation of poor cooperation in sanctuary cities. It is policy and protocol to implement raids in order to protect US citizens. “ICE regularly conducts targeted, enforcement operations across the country to enhance public safety and national security and to ensure the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” the agency said in defense of the accusations. “Our enforcement actions are not random and target specific violators based on prior intelligence.”
But many believe Team Trump is pressing extra hard on sanctuary areas.
Counties Not Accepting Detainers
As of March 20thth, the Department of Homeland Security released a document entailing uncooperative jurisdictions with illegals facing a return home. There’s also a list of cities perpetually failing to follow through with illegal-alien holds and/or requests of such for those charged or convicted of unlawful acts between late January and early February—as well as 10 counties racking up detainer declinations.
Travis County is amid the top counties failing to cooperate. Hernandez’s county has refused 128, ICE detainers—many inmates were released in the aforementioned time frame. Hernandez opponents have pushed for her to revise her stance. However, Hernandez pushed back with claiming that her position was implemented right after the aforementioned list was published. More, she claimed the declined-detainer-request number has decreased.
While Travis County and other place (e.g., New York City and Los Angeles) have exercised additional efforts to ensure the safety of their illegals, President Trump remains staunch on his position against illegal immigrants—sanctuary cities should be on the lookout for ICE operations to protect the US from illegal-alien activity.