ICE Targets Sanctuary Cities with Increased Surveillance

To tighten up security in sanctuary cities across the nation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has initiated 24-hour surveillances near homes and job sites of undocumented immigrants. Plans are to deploy hundreds of additional officers in the weeks ahead to increase arrests in communities where local law enforcement agencies are not cooperating with federal immigration enforcement. Beyond the removal of foreign-born individuals, the increased presence may make these communities less safe as residents may be discouraged from cooperating with the police out of fear of removal.

What are Sanctuary Cities?

Sanctuary cities are towns or states that limit cooperation with federal immigration agencies, including ICE. While they usually work to turn over individuals who have committed serious crimes, they hesitate to take action to hasten the detainment of low-priority immigrants who are productive members of their communities. There are more than 700 sanctuary cities and counties in the nation, including Philadelphia.

Increased Manpower to Enforce Immigration

ICE has requested around 500 additional personnel to join this campaign to increase arrests in sanctuary cities throughout the country. This added manpower includes elite immigration SWAT teams, which are normally assigned to more dangerous cases involving border smuggling, rescue, and intelligence operations. These individuals have been directed to search and arrest as many undocumented immigrants as possible.

It is important to note the distinction between civil and criminal infractions. Since immigration law violations are civil matters, in most cases, ICE agents are not permitted to obtain warrants to enter locations where undocumented immigrants are located. Their approach is to surveil targeted immigrants for up to 12 hours a day until they can make an arrest outside of their homes and workplaces.

Possible Safety Ramifications of Increased ICE Presence

Immigration advocates say ICE’s increasingly aggressive methods are making communities more dangerous. Some are brandishing weapons, wearing military-style uniforms, and claiming to be police officers, creating a sense of fear for many immigrants that once believed they were residing in safe places. Others say the presence of ICE agents and more aggressive immigration law enforcement discourages people from cooperating with the police and makes their communities unsafe overall. A government official overseeing the ICE division responsible for conducting these raids says no one should be surprised they are doing what they promised to do, which is to protect the public from undocumented criminals.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Represent Foreign-Born Clients Seeking Legal Guidance

If you have questions about how the renewed efforts to detain and deport foreign-born individuals may impact your job and your family, contact one of our experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. We have the dedication and compassion needed to handle all immigration matters. For an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-925-4435 today. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide.