By Liam Jeffries
America under President Donald Trump has taken a maddeningly militaristic turn, and New York is a target.
As part of an escalation of efforts to combat the policies of sanctuary cities who refuse to turn over residents to his deportation machine, the Trump administration has announced a new front in his one-sided battle against undocumented residents: the deployment of Border Patrol SWAT teams, armed with stun grenades and Special Forces training, to sanctuary cities, including New York City.
The units are normally seen operating against armed drug smugglers and cartels on the southern border, and are being sent, according to immigration officials, “in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security.” But enough with the Trump administration’s line as to how this will “protect” us.
Like with everything else Trump says, it’s a bald-faced lie, for if we can be crystal clear on one thing, it’s that the deployment of tactical border patrol agents armed with stun grenades and, one can assume based on their normal field of operation, a host of military-grade weaponry, isn't an act meant to keep the residents of sanctuary cities safe.
It’s an act of armed intimidation, plain and simple, an action that says to the residents of sanctuary cities like New York that they aren’t afraid to present themselves at their most threatening and violent if we refuse to send immigrant members of our community to their deplorable detention camps, which, considering what ICE and CBP have already done in their previous raids, should worry us all.
As an American citizen, it’s frightening that my own government, a self-proclaimed beacon of democratic freedom, has resorted to sending the equivalent of domestic military forces to my city for the sole purpose of terrorizing our non-white residents into compliance, an act more at home in an authoritarian dictatorship than a functioning democracy.
As a proud resident of a city that refuses to comply, at the governmental and community level, with Trump’s racist and xenophobic immigration actions, I’m beyond furious, to the point of demanding more in our collective response to this.
This is not something we should just be criticizing on Twitter or venting about to friends like we do with most other Trump policies. This deployment is something much bigger and frightening than what’s come before, an actual physical manifestation of Trump’s totalitarian and racist rhetoric, and as such, this demands a response of clear and unequivocal public anger.
This is something we should be stopping traffic over, something we should be blocking ICE and Border Patrol offices over, something we should be responding to by making sure, to the best of our collective ability, that Border Patrol and ICE officials can’t send armed tactical forces to terrorize us.
We’re witnessing before our very eyes a further stepping stone from a respectable democracy that at least pretends to respect its residents to a country that uses quasi-military forces on its own people, and it’s one that must be met with a collective yell of protest, one that screams loud and clear that we don’t accept this, will never accept this, and will forever hold this miserable, fascist excuse of a man in contempt over this.