The Trump administration will send an elite 100-person Border Patrol unit to “sanctuary cities” beginning this month to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel in apprehending criminal aliens released by local police.
On Friday, The New York Times that the specially trained officers will begin working with ICE this month through May.
Among the team are members of an elite unit known as BORTAC, which the Times describes as the SWAT team for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
Agents are equipped with gear like stun grenades and are typically used to conduct high-risk operations targeting people known to be violent who have significant criminal records, according to the Times.
ICE primarily focuses its internal enforcement efforts on illegal immigrants who have criminal records, but has not ruled out detaining others in the country illegally as “collateral” arrests.
In a Friday statement, CBP officials said the last year’s border crisis led to an increase in so-called non-detained cases — 3.2 million in fiscal year 2019, up from 2.6 million in FY2018.
As such, ICE has struggled to keep up with removal operations, especially as more cities and jurisdictions around the country adopted controversial sanctuary policies.
“With 5,300 [Enforcement and Removal Operations] law enforcement officers – some of whom were detailed to the border – 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,” the statement said.
The administration said agents and officers come from a number of sectors and positions — including those trained in tactical operations, although they note that that is “one of the many areas of training.”
“These officers have also been trained in routine immigration enforcement actions which is what they have been asked to do. All CBP officers and agents are FLETC-trained [Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers], just like ICE, and are more than capable of helping ICE fulfill their mission,” the statement said.