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Trump deploying Border Patrol’s highly-armed elite tactical agents in major US cities

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President Donald Trump with Customs and Border Patrol agents. White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Continuing his attacks on his enemies one week after being acquitted on articles of impeachmenmt President Donald Trump on Friday ordered a group of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical agents to deploy in major sanctuary cities to round up and arrest undocumented immigrants, The New York Times reports.

Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tactical Unit, BORTAC, are being sent to sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.

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BORTAC “acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol.”

These are top border patrol agents, who use stun grenades and other weapons usually reserved for warfare “in the most rugged and swelteringly hot areas of the border.”

BORTAC agents receive “enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification,” and “the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.”

“Their presence could spark new fear in immigrant communities that have been on high alert under the stepped-up deportation and detention policies adopted after Mr. Trump took office,” the Times notes.

Former CBP commissioner Gil Kerlikowske calls the decision a “significant mistake.”

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“If you were a police chief and you were going to make an apprehension for a relatively minor offense, you don’t send the SWAT team. And BORTAC is the SWAT team,” Kerlikowske, a former chief of police in Seattle, told the Times. “They’re trained for much more hazardous missions than this.”

 


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