Officials in major cities are taking a stand against President Trump’s threats for mass deportation in order to protect their immigrant residents.
Mayors, city officials and police departments from across the country are refusing to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after seeing reports that the agency will launch sweeping deportation raids in at least 10 major cities over the weekend.
The raids, expected on Sunday, are targeting up to 2,000 migrant families who’ve received deportation orders, the Washington Post and Miami Herald reported on Friday.
ICE agents are expected carry out the deportations in cities with large immigrant communities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.
Mayors in cities that have asserted its status as so-called “sanctuary cities,” such as San Francisco, criticized the reported deportation plans and reached out to their immigrant residents offering support.
In a statement Friday night, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she directed the Chicago Police Department to not cooperate with ICE or their enforcement efforts.
She also ordered Chicago police to cut off any access ICE has to the parts of the city’s police database that contain information on immigration enforcement activities. Lightfoot said she has “personally spoken to ICE leadership” to voice her objections to the raids.
“We are all aware of the threat from President Trump regarding raids by ICE, and in response, Chicago has taken concrete steps to support our immigrant communities,” she said.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday night reiterated her city’s status as a so-called sanctuary city, where police and city officials vow to refuse to work with federal officials to detain and deport immigrants.
“It is unconscionable that the Federal administration is targeting innocent immigrant families with secret raids that are designed to inflict as much fear and pain as possible,” Breed said in a statement. “Here in San Francisco, we will always demonstrate our values of diversity and inclusiveness by being a sanctuary city that stands up for all our residents and neighbors.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the city would provide support the city’s immigrant community and warned immigrants of their rights.
In a separate statement, the Los Angeles Police Department said it would not be participating or enforcing ICE’s deportation efforts. The department did note that immigration violations are a matter of federal law and would only be handled by ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms warned residents of the raids and provided a link to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative where immigrants can find resources for pro bono legal representation.
New York’s Immigrant Affairs office, which operates under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, also alerted the city’s residents of ICE’s sweeps and shared information on immigrant rights during raids.
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said that the city did not receive any notice of the upcoming raids, adding that the city would not support “family separation or the round-up of immigrant families to spread fear in our community.”
The Denver Police Department told the Denver Post that they do not typically assist with any ICE operations. However, the Denver police would assist in cases of emergency.
Hancock suggested that the city would “do whatever we can to prevent the inhumane practice of family separation.”
“Threats from this [White House]. which are only a distraction from its failures, won’t weaken our resolve,” he tweeted.
Baltimore Mayor Jack Young told CBS Baltimore that he was “deeply disturbed” by the ICE reports and said the city needed to preserve the relationship residents have with its local law enforcement officers.
“I am proud that Baltimore is committed to upholding the American values of respecting the rights and dignity of every resident,” Young told the news station. “Regardless of the position of the federal government, we will continue to stand by our decision to be an inclusive, fair and welcoming city.”
While Washington D.C. was not included in reports of deportation sweeps, the district’s Mayor Muriel Bowser denounced Trump and called the sweeps “cruel.”