Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is preparing a series of targeted actions and operations during the month of October that focus on cities that have adopted sanctuary city policies.
Operation Sanctuary, as it is informally known, could begin in the state of California this month and in the following weeks expand to cities like Denver and Philadelphia, among others, according to a Washington Post report.
The newspaper mentions that Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), could travel to one of these cities to push President Donald Trump's claims about the lack of protection for citizens from immigrant criminals.
It should be noted that the Republican candidate, who is seeking re-election in the upcoming elections, has made immigration enforcement a key part of his campaign and has cracked down on illegal immigration both at the northern border, as well as inside the U.S. Similarly, last Friday ICE launched a billboard campaign in the state of Pennsylvania which, according to the agency, will serve to inform about the danger of sanctuary policies in cities like Philadelphia.
The move comes just weeks after Amnesty International also ran a billboard campaign (one of them very close to an agency office in Philadelphia) to demand the release of immigrants held in family detention centers.
According to city spokesman Mike Dunn, this type of publicity is intended to generate "anti-immigrant fervor," as it has been for the past four years, especially in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election.
In this sense, the Washington Post also agrees that Ice's raids are a "political messaging campaign" rather than a major operation, which will focus on the capture of immigrants with criminal records.
ICE said in a statement that sanctuary city policies often limit cooperation with the agency and result in various public safety concerns.
On Sept. 1, ICE returned to the streets to detain more than 2,000 undocumented immigrants in a six-week series of operations in Texas, Florida, Virginia and California.
Sanctuary cities limit or prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, and specifically with ICE detainers.