The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is moving ahead with a plan to send Border Patrol “SWAT” teams out to sanctuary cities in an effort to track down undocumented immigrants that benefit from policies barring local law enforcement from assisting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
Speaking with Greta Van Susteren on Full Court Press in an episode published online on Sunday, DHS acting Secretary Chad Wolf said Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) teams would be deployed to a number of sanctuary cities across the country.
“Their SWAT job is not their only job,” he said in the Sunday interview. “These are Border Patrol agents, CBP [Customs and Border Protection] agents that are specially trained to do additional duties above and beyond what they do every day.”
Wolf claimed that the elite tactical units were necessary in sanctuary cities to help track down undocumented immigrants with final orders for removal after they are released from the custody of local law enforcement.
ICE will typically try to place a “detainer,” or a request for local law enforcement to hold arrested individuals with removal orders in custody, until the immigration agency can detain them and oversee their deportation.
However, cities with sanctuary policies obstruct ICE’s efforts by barring local law enforcement bodies from turning undocumented immigrants in their custody over to ICE.
“The issue that we have with sanctuary cities is instead of having one officer going in a jail setting and picking up an illegal alien who has a final order of removal, sanctuary cities don’t allow us to do that,” Wolf said. “They release that alien into the community and now we have to send a team of agents to go into the community, to knock on doors, and try to locate an individual or a set of individuals.”
“So, we need more than one or two officers to do that,” he continued. “So, as sanctuary cities continue to pop up, we continue to need more resources to go into these communities.”
Wolf asserted that the DHS “wouldn’t have to bring these folks [Border Patrol tactical units] in if the jurisdictions would cooperate with ICE.”