BOSTON (CBS) – The Trump administration is going to send Border Patrol agents to “sanctuary” cities around the country, including the Boston area. The Department of Homeland Security said the extra personnel will help ICE agents with immigration enforcement.
“ICE does not have sufficient resources to effectively manage the sustained increase in non-detained cases which is exacerbated by the rise of sanctuary jurisdictions,” a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
The New York Times reports that among the 100 agents being deployed are members of an elite tactical unit which acts as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol.
“This is like a SWAT team basically coming in,” said Philip Torrey of Harvard Law School. “These are folks with sniper certifications, they’re really designed for counter-terrorism, going after significant drug cartels.”
Torrey believes the plan creates a bigger risk to public safety. “It has a chilling effect in terms of people reporting crimes, folks being willing to go to the police,” he said.
DHS said the officers “have also been trained in routine immigration enforcement actions which is what they have been asked to do.”
Sanctuary cities in the area include Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, Newton and Lawrence.
Mayor Marty Walsh said Boston has proved that it’s possible to decrease crime while welcoming everyone. “Policies aimed at sowing division and fear are ultimately counterproductive and harmful not merely to the families and individuals who are targeted but to the broader community of which we are all a part,” Mayor Walsh said in a statement.
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone said they will not cooperate. “We’re talking about going after hardworking people who work alongside us, live alongside us, their kids go to school with ours, they love this country as much as you and I and more than this president,” Curtatone said.
The deployment will reportedly run from February until May. The department did not specify where in the Boston area the agents will be sent.