Efforts to Undermine Sanctuary Cities

In the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ramped up raids, arrests, and deportation proceedings across the country. Some cities have welcomed ICE and CBP’s activities, while others have employed sanctuary policies to resist federal law enforcement’s immigration crackdown. Trump administration officials have praised cities that cooperate with ICE and CBP and condemned those that don’t—and may have even coordinated with politically-friendly cities and states to undermine sanctuary policies.

What We’re Seeking:

  • Communications between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Florida officials, including Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Attorney General’s office, related to sanctuary cities
  • Communications between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including ICE, and the Florida Attorney General’s Office related to sanctuary cities
  • Communications among DHS, ICE, and CBP related to federal or state-specific sanctuary policies
  • Communications between DOJ and DHS officials and the governors of Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Maine, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, and Maryland regarding immigration, sanctuary cities, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program

Background:

ICE and CBP enforcement activities have skyrocketed in the first year of the Trump administration. ICE has conducted surprise sweeps in communities across the country, often arresting hundreds of undocumented immigrants in a single raid. ICE arrests rose more than 40 percent between 2016 and 2017, and the agency has stopped prioritizing undocumented immigrants with criminal records. CBP has similarly increased its reach, carrying out random searches in non-border areas.

President Trump and some of his cabinet have been vocal in expressing their support for cities that cooperate with ICE and CBP. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an August 2017 news conference in Miami, praised the city’s mayor for reversing sanctuary policies and cooperating with ICE and CBP. Conversely, Sessions has threatened to withhold millions of dollars in federal funding from cities that resist federal immigration crackdowns.

In January 2018, five months after Sessions’ Miami speech, Florida’s House of Representatives passed a bill banning sanctuary policies. The bill coincided with an increase in ICE and CBP activities in Florida, including ICE raids in 7-Eleven stores in Orlando and Fort Myers and a CBP raid on a Greyhound bus, in which agents boarded the bus, demanded identification from all passengers, and arrested a woman who refused to comply.

American Oversight is seeking to find out whether officials in Florida and other states have coordinated with federal law enforcement agencies to target undocumented immigrants—and whether officials are using Florida as a testing ground for expanded immigration crackdowns nationwide.

Related Documents

September 26, 2019

FOIA to DHS Seeking Communications Regarding President Trump’s Proposal to Bus Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
September 25, 2019

No Records Response from Civil Rights Division of DOJ Regarding Communications with Governors and Attorney Generals

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
September 25, 2019

No Records Response from Civil Rights Division of DOJ Regarding Communications with Congress about Immigration

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
September 25, 2019

No Records Response from Civil Rights Division of DOJ Regarding Communications with Congress on Immigration

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
April 16, 2019

No Records Response from DHS Regarding Communications with FL Gov Rick Scott or the Florida Attorney GeneralÕs Office Concerning Immigration Law Enforcement

Department of Homeland Security
Agency Reply
March 29, 2019

No Records Response from CRT Regarding Immigration Communications with Congress

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
October 22, 2018

No Records Response from DHS Regarding Communications with Particular States Regarding Immigration

Department of Homeland Security
Agency Reply
October 9, 2018

No Records Response from DHS for Communications With State Officials On Immigration Issues

Department of Homeland Security
Agency Reply
March 30, 2018

No Records Response From DOJ Regarding Immigration Policies and Upcoming Elections

Department of Justice
Agency Reply
March 26, 2018

FOIA Seeking Communications between DOJ and Senators and Representatives Regarding Immigration Policies

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 26, 2018

FOIA Seeking Communications Between DOJ and Senators Up for Re-Election Regarding Immigration

Department of Justice
FOIA Request
March 26, 2018

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Communications Related to Immigration

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
March 26, 2018

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Communications with Governors Regarding to Immigration

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
March 26, 2018

FOIA to DHS Seeking Communications with Governors Regarding to Immigration

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
March 26, 2018

FOIA to DHS Seeking Communications with Governors Regarding to Immigration, DACA, and Raids

Department of Homeland Security
FOIA Request
March 2, 2018

FOIA to DHS Seeking Communications Related to Sanctuary Cities and Immigration policies

Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
FOIA Request
March 2, 2018

FOIA to DHS Seeking Communications Related to Sanctuary Cities in FL

Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
FOIA Request
March 2, 2018

FOIA to DOJ Regarding Sanctuary Cities

Department of Justice
FOIA Request