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How L.A. and Immigrant Right Groups Are Responding to Trump’s Deployment of Tactical Forces to Sanctuary Cities

11:37 AM PST on February 19, 2020

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]s people across the city celebrated Valentine’s Day, the occupant of the White House announced that law enforcement tactical units from the border, including BORTAC and the SWAT team of Border Patrol, will be deployed to sanctuary cities across the nation. 

Units are already being sent to Chicago and New York City, and are expected to be sent to Los Angeles and San Francisco, among other sanctuary cities. Units will be deployed from February to May, according to The New York Times report.

Hours after the move, advocates condemned the xenophobic mess during a press conference.

 “Of course Trump would use a day when we celebrate love to send a crass hateful message,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA. 

Lorella Praeli, President of Community Change Action explained that the order to deploy militarized Border Patrol into sanctuary cities risks Border Patrol officers using excessive force and then encouraging ICE to do the same. Praeli also explained that the move undermined state and local governments, while also trying to score political brownie points with the Trump cult.

“The desire to terrorize immigrants is the point…[Trump] wants people to leave,” said Praeli.

Sanctuary cities are places where there is limited cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE. Despite the President’s incessant description of sanctuary cities breeding crime, they have actually been fact-checked to be safer. This is due to the immigrant victims of violent crimes who typically live in these regions. Studies have shown that their personal experiences with crime make them less afraid of reporting crimes if they aren’t afraid of police cooperating with ICE.

At 1.5 million, more undocumented immigrants live in Southern California than any other part of the country, with just under a million in the greater Los Angeles area. Mayor Garcetti has promised that law enforcement will not cooperate with ICE which is consistent with California’s Sanctuary Law, or Senate Bill 54.

As for how regular people could help, advocates at a press conference on February 14th explained that folks could support the LA Justice Fund, which helps pay for the fees of undocumented Angelenos in immigration court. Advocates also urged people to support pro-immigrant policies at the polls (an L.A. Taco voting guide is coming soon) and demand their representatives to hold ICE and DHS accountable. 

In another joint statement from 27 immigrant rights organizations, advocates spoke out against scare tactics coming from the White House.

“In the face of militarized aggression and an ugly campaign of intimidation from the Trump administration’s deportation force, we call upon all Californians to respond with power, not panic. We have defeated these intimidation tactics before, and we are ready to do so again.”

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