Even before he was elected, President Trump announced his intention to remove as much federal funding as possible for “sanctuary cities” that continued to refuse cooperation with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
While some, like Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, announced shortly thereafter that their cities would comply with all federal law enforcement agencies (to include ICE), others doubled down on protecting their sanctuary status.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to preserve his city as a sanctuary, even if that meant ignoring “minor” crimes like drunk driving — and members of his party within the state legislature have already begun the push to make the whole of New York a sanctuary state.
But no city has taken its defiance of President Trump quite so far as San Francisco. Often held up as a bastion of liberal values, the city by the bay has taken a step that has the experts scratching their heads: they've dropped out of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force intelligence network.
Fox News reports:
San Francisco has taken its defiance of the feds to a new level, ending its cooperation with the FBI in an anti-terror initiative begun after 9/11 - a move crtitics say could get innocent people killed.
Critics say the sanctuary city by the bay's latest decision to forego cooperation with Washington, by dropping out of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, could put lives at risk. The JTTF has been credited with foiling 93 Islamist terrorist attacks and plots against the U.S. since 2001, including 12 this year, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation. There are another 1,000 investigations into suspected terror activity nationwide.
These staggering statistics make the recent decision by the San Francisco police department to end the city’s partnership with the JTTF, at the behest of local activist groups that alleged Arabs and Muslims are wrongly targeted by the FBI and will be more so under the Trump administration, all the more concerning, said retired federal law enforcement officials.
The concern, according to a number of retired law enforcement professionals, is simple: most of the potential terrorist attacks that have been foiled in the United States since 9/11 have been stopped because they were first noticed by local law enforcement.
Former ICE investigator Claude Arnold told Fox News:
“There is less chance of uncovering networks, plots, missing pieces of a puzzle, without cities participating in the JTTF."
The Fox News Report continues:
San Francisco police have dozens of undercover agents and contacts in immigrant communities helpful to federal law enforcement investigations. Conversely, two San Francisco police are federally deputized for the JTTF, and as a result have access to classified intelligence.
Mark Rossini, retired FBI special agent and founder of the National Counterterrorism Center, was quick to blast the political nature of San Francisco's decision to withdraw from the JTTF, calling it “narrow-minded”:
“Politics aside, and the mayor and leaders of San Francisco have their right to their opinion, political opinion and beliefs. But when you’re working in law enforcement, law enforcement should know no politics.
Information must flow both ways in these cases. By San Francisco pulling out, you’re losing that vital link of data that the FBI and the other federal agencies and the Department of Justice will need in order to complete its cases and investigate them thoroughly.
Last time I checked, we’re all part of the 50 states … So let us continue to work together when it comes to the law, when it comes to law enforcement. You want to do politics another day”
Local activists and officials so far seem to support San Francisco's move, however. They expressed concern that, given the direction taken so far by the Trump administration, Muslims would be extensively and unfairly targeted.
Those defending the city's move to cut ties with the JTTF claim their intent was to make a pre-emptive strike in order to prevent that from happening.
President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors London Breed (D) admits that this wasn't an action that the city ever intended to take:
“We’re prepared for a lot of different kinds of scenarios, but I just think that the one thing that we didn’t prepare for is, y’know, the Trump administration."
And City Supervisor Mark Farrell says it's all a process: “We are waiting and seeing every single day what the next move is coming out of our federal government, and we need to do everything we can to stand up for our residents.”