Immigration and Customs Enforcement will conduct a series of immigration enforcement operations in three sanctuary cities as soon as this week, according to the Washington Post.
The enforcement actions, informally known as the "sanctuary op," will first target illegal immigrants in California, followed by Denver and Philadelphia according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Post is framing it as nothing more than a political messaging campaign.
Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, probably will travel to at least one of the jurisdictions where the operation will take place to boost President Trump’s claims that leaders in those cities have failed to protect residents from dangerous criminals, two officials said. -Washington Post
When reached for comment, ICE spokesman Mike Alvarez said "We do not comment on any law enforcement sensitive issues that may adversely impact our officers and the public," adding "However, every day as part of routine operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement targets and arrests criminal aliens and other individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws."
According to Alvarez, cities which don't cooperate with ICE put agents and the public at greater risk.
"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," he said.
Sanctuary cities do not hold immigrants in jail longer than required to allow ICE to take them into custody, nor do they help ICE by checking the legal status of suspects in minor offenses.
According to statistics, 70% of ICE arrests occur after the agency has been notified about an illegal immigrant's pending release from state prison or jail. Sanctuary cities don't participate in these notifications, worsening the backlog of what ICE calls "at-large criminal and fugitive aliens ICE seeks to apprehend."