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Elite tactical ICE unit deployed to sanctuary cities: We must draw the line

From the Editors  |  Issue: March 2020
demonstrators for human rights

Photo: Ted Quant

 

In an action reminiscent of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, President Trump has given orders to deploy the elite tactical ICE unit BORTAC to Sanctuary cities throughout the country during the months of February through May of this year. Subpoenas are being issued to local sheriffs to protect them from repercussions for violating THEIR state’s Sanctuary laws that protect immigrants, such as the California Values Act.

Today’s modern-day “slave catchers” are a border patrol version of SWAT paramilitary units who normally confront smugglers on the border. Given the highly polarized and contentious Presidential election and the impunity he commands coming out of the impeachment trials, Trump has settled on a strategy which he feels will propel him to the Presidency in November.

Furthermore, Trump has granted the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which like ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security, special privileges of secrecy and exemptions that further exacerbate the agency’s lack of transparency and culture of abuse and impunity.

As Naureen Shah of the American Civil Liberties Union has stated: “It [BORTAC] will put lives at risk by further militarizing our streets.”

We are living dangerous but momentous times. With ramped up immigration raids, attacks on our democratic freedoms including the right to vote and to protest, heightened police surveillance, and threatened concentration camps for homeless people, let alone children in cages—we know it won’t stop with overturning sanctuary laws. We only need to think back to what happened to the German people, let alone the rest of the world, when they went along with Hitler.

People of conscience are standing and defending human dignity against tyranny. Join in!

The defense of immigrants and refugees, as of the homeless, is the defense of all of us. We must take back our country from Trump and his corporate backers, even the billionaires who are running against him or supporting others to run against Trump.

As our forefathers fought against and eventually defeated the tyranny of slave owners, we have to fight the tyranny of a government controlled by corporations wallowing in unheard of wealth while people starve, freeze to death, or families are separated and deported, many times to their deaths.

ICE
Immigration and Customs Enforcement

BORTAC
Border Tactical Team

CBP
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

DHS
Department of Homeland Security

ACLU
American Civil Liberties Union

SWAT
Special Weapons and Tactics Team

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