Trump's Recent Rampage Against Undocumented Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities Is Based on Dangerous, Faulty Logic

Known as Operation Safe City, ICE agents announced Thursday they had worked to ensure a Trump campaign promise: targeting so-called sanctuary cities.


Sanctuary cities are those that have committed to protecting undocumented immigrants. Trump has rebuked them, promising to end federal funding to places like New York, Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles, all of which were targeted in the ICE Operation Safe City raids. The renewed focus on illegal immigration falls in line with Trump’s racist and unfounded "rapists and murderers" rhetoric against Latinos—the main victims of the raids.

Even worse—the logic behind immigration raids has been discredited. Yet that doesn’t appear to faze Trump and ICE from implementing their cruel and misguided policy.

Justifying their actions, ICE claimed the raids were intended to “build cooperative, respectful relationships with our law enforcement partners." Reality tells a different story. In Texas, which is seen as a battleground state in the immigration debate, ICE has had to threaten Texas law enforcement with jail time if they fail to comply with Trump immigration initiatives.

At a press conference, Texas police chiefs from Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Arlington explained their hesitance in enforcing Trump and ICE immigration directives: "Such a divide between the local police and immigrant groups will result in increased crime against immigrants and in the broader community, create a class of silent victims, and eliminate the potential for assistance from immigrants in solving crimes or preventing crime."

The logic here has parallels in an unexpected place: the debate over the effectiveness of torture against suspected terrorists. The Texas police chiefs fear false information could emerge from potential victims of immigration raids, who have been violated of due process and live in daily fear of being separated from their families. Remember, a plethora of data suggests that information provided under duress is unreliable and, worse, often counterproductive.

Operation Safe City may actually be a slimmed-down version of a larger raid called Operation Mega, which would have targeted 8,400 suspected illegal immigrants. ICE cancelled Mega due to “current weather conditions”—meaning Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

If there is any takeaway from Operation Safe City other than a further eroding of promises written on the Statue of Liberty, it’s that the Trump administration continues to ignore any evidence pointing contrary to their impulse.

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