Cities Nationwide Refuse To Cooperate With ICE’s Mass Deportation Raids

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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.”

Trump Administration To Detain Migrant Children On Site Of WWII Japanese American Internment Camp

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Fort Sill in Oklahoma will be used as a “temporary emergency influx shelter” for surging numbers of unaccompanied minors detained at the border.

rump administration officials have chosen an Oklahoma military base that was used as a World War II internment camp for Japanese and Japanese American people to shelter undocumented immigrant children apprehended at the border without an adult. 

Starting as soon as July, Fort Sill will be used as a “temporary emergency influx shelter” to mitigate overcrowding at existing facilities, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement said Tuesday. The agency cited “a dramatic spike” in unaccompanied minors detained by border officials this year — just under 41,000 as of April 30, an almost 57% increase from the same period in 2018.

The Army base, located near Lawton, Oklahoma, about 90 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, was selected after officials toured several military bases in recent weeks to assess which could be used to hold the migrant children.

HHS officials previously used Fort Sill during the Obama administration, detaining about 1,800 undocumented children from May to August of 2014, during a swell in border crossings that year. The facility was among several other military bases used between 2012 and 2017 as temporary facilities for undocumented immigrant children.

During World War II, the Army’s War Relocation Authority infamously held nearly 120,000 Japanese and Japanese American people at 10 long-term camps — euphemized as “relocation centers.”

Fort Sill was among 14 U.S. Army bases used as temporary detention camps, usually for “first generation Japanese residents detained early into U.S. involvement in WWII,” according to the National Japanese American Historical Society. They later “would be held, processed, and transferred from these locations to other facilities.” 

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Pastor Casts Doubt On White House Claim That Trump Wanted To Pray For Shooting Victims

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The Virginia pastor wrote that the White House called just before the president’s arrival and asked him to pray for Trump as part of “Pray for President Trump Day.”

A pastor’s explanation of President Donald Trump’s sudden visit to his church on Franklin Graham’s “Pray for Donald Trump Day” is casting doubt on the White House’s widely publicized claim that he went there to pray for Friday’s shooting victims in Virginia Beach.

David Platt, pastor of McLean Bible Church, a few miles from Trump’s golf course in Northern Virginia, wrote in a statement that the first he heard about Trump’s visit was after he finished a sermon early Sunday afternoon.

“I was immediately called backstage and told that the president of the United States was on his way to the church, would be there in a matter of minutes, and would like for us to pray for him,” Platt wrote.

Hours earlier, he had referenced Graham’s “Prayer for Donald Trump Day,” which the son of the famed evangelist had decreed would be that Sunday. “Many of you may have seen that there were calls to, particularly on this Sunday, pray for our president,” Platt told his congregation as Trump stood beside him.

The White House, though, had given a different reason for the visit. Just as Trump was walking into the church, the press office sent out a statement claiming that he was there “to visit with the pastor and pray for the victims and community of Virginia Beach.”

That statement was picked up by hundreds of media outlets around the country and the world, some of whom used it in follow-up coverage to Friday’s massacre that left 12 dead and several others hospitalized in critical condition.

Yet, during the entirety of Trump’s 16-minute stay, Platt did not mention the shooting, and Trump never spoke ― about the shooting or anything else ― beyond thanking Platt afterward.

Instead, the president stood on stage, wearing a dark blazer, blue golf shirt, khakis and golf cleats, as Platt prayed for him. In one hand he clutched a white golf hat, thus revealing slicked hair that clung to his head ― a change from the elaborate coiffure that Trump normally sports in public.

Platt wrote that he posted his letter to the church’s website late Sunday because some in the congregation had been “hurt” by his decision to allow Trump an audience. Nowhere in the 850-word missive is there a mention of Virginia Beach at all.

“My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders,” Platt wrote.

Platt informed HuffPost that he is not doing media interviews about the episode.

“He had time to process what had happened, and I think he realized that he was completely played by this president,” said Kendal Unruh, a Colorado Christian school teacher and former Republican activist who led the unsuccessful effort at the 2016 convention to dump Trump as the party’s nominee.

Of Trump, she said: “He wasn’t going there to pray for the victims. That wasn’t his purpose for going. It’s a staged photo-op. That’s all it is.”

HuffPost has for three days been asking the White House about the origins of its claim that Trump had gone to a church near his golf course to pray for victims of a shooting that had happened 230 miles away in the southeast corner of Virginia. Press officers, however, refused to elaborate and instead referred back to the original statement.

A timeline of the day based on White House pool reports and Platt’s statement, in fact, suggests an ad hoc visit thrown together at the last minute, resulting in a perspiring commander in chief attending church in his golf duds and cleats:

8:58 a.m.: Trump’s motorcade leaves the White House. The pool did not see Trump but noticed staff members wearing golf attire.

9:35 a.m.: Trump’s motorcade arrives at Trump’s golf course in Sterling, Virginia.

1 p.m.: Platt receives word that Trump wants to visit and have Platt pray for him. Platt honors the request.

1:59 p.m.: Trump’s motorcade leaves the golf course.

2:20 p.m.: The motorcade arrives at McLean Bible Church in Tysons.

2:36 p.m.: Trump leaves the church.

“It’s hard to say you were there to pray for the shooting victims when nothing about the shooting victims was mentioned,” said Rick Tyler, a Republican political consultant who in the 2016 presidential primaries worked for the candidate who worked the hardest to win over the evangelical Christian vote, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. “It would probably help if you’re praying for someone, you should mention them. Maybe that’s just me.”

But though the Virginia Beach shootings may not have been on the agenda, Graham’s “Pray for Donald Trump Day” clearly was.

The previous Sunday, May 26, Graham, a strong Trump supporter, had asked fellow preachers and all Christians to pray for Trump. “I and many other Christian leaders across the country are asking you to take a moment during that day to pray for President Donald Trump,” Graham said in a video. “I don’t believe any president in the history of this nation has been attacked more than Donald Trump.”

Trump acknowledged Graham’s decree on Saturday evening: “We will all stick together and WIN! Thank you Franklin.”

Graham, who now runs the ministry founded by his father, the Rev. Billy Graham, was not available for comment, according to a spokesman.

Unruh said the day’s timeline makes it obvious that Trump or his aides remembered only after he was already at the golf course that it was Trump’s special prayer day and then scrambled to find someplace that would pray for him.

She said she thought Platt’s prayer was inspired. He asked for God to give Trump wisdom for the sake of the country: “Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Please, oh God, give him wisdom.”

“It was a great prayer,” Unruh said. “I’m glad he prayed for him.”

She added, though, that the reaction she has been hearing from evangelicals who like Trump has been quite different. “Trump supporters are mad that the pastor did not pray for Trump to be reelected and to smite his enemies, the ‘libs,’” Unruh said. “They must think that’s what Jesus wrote in the sand: ‘Own the libs.’”

White evangelical Christians are the only major demographic group backing Trump. According to recent Pew polls, Trump has the approval of just 37% of Americans overall but 69% of white evangelical Christians.

Many have justified that support for Trump ― who was famously caught on tape bragging that his celebrity allowed him to grab women by the genitals and who has been sued thousands of times for failing to honor his signed contracts with craftsmen and suppliers ― by arguing that their God in biblical times used flawed or even immoral leaders to advance his aims.

Tyler, who said he was stunned to see so many self-proclaimed evangelicals support Trump over Cruz, still cannot explain it.

“They’ve been sold the lie that Trump is good for the pro-life movement and that he will stand up against the war on Christianity,” he said. “That’s how we lost the South. The evangelicals did go for Trump. No question about it.”

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