Are Upcoming ICE Raids Also Targeting Black Mayors?

Either coincidence or the president is sending warning shots to non-White local elected officials

Publisher’s Riff

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According to reports and Trump administration sources, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will coordinate a national wave of historic raids on undocumented migrant households in 10 different cities across the United States. Those raids will, ironically, take place on Sunday, widely considered the nation’s most religious day, another aspect to the operation that sends a chilling message.

The cities reportedly being targeted include:

  • Atlanta

  • Baltimore

  • Chicago

  • Denver

  • Houston

  • Los Angeles

  • Miami

  • New Orleans

  • New York

  • San Francisco

The racial dimensions of this raid go beyond the migrants being targeted by ICE agents. One thing that also stands out about all 10 cities is that 70 percent of them are currently run by Black mayors, or 7 out of 10. Those include:

  • Atlanta - Keisha Lance Bottoms

  • Baltimore - Bernard Young

  • Chicago - Lori Lightfoot

  • Denver - Michael Hancock

  • Houston - Sylvester Turner

  • New Orleans - LaToya Cantrell

  • San Francisco - London Breed

Two more cities are currently run by non-White or Latinx Mayors, including:

  • Los Angeles - Eric Garcetti

  • Miami - Francis Suarez

New York is the only ICE targeted city that is currently being run by a White mayor, Bill de Blasio. That mayor, incidentally, is married to a Black woman and is father to Black/bi-racial children. Hence, 90 percent of the ICE-targeted cities on this list are run by non-White mayors.

It should also be noted that 70 percent of these cities - including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York - have the highest Black population concentrations of major or large U.S. cities. There has been conversation lately that Democrats may be underestimating how much Republican anti-immigrant messaging is dangerously resonating with some Black populations. Politically, this puts Democratic mayors and the Democratic Party in a particularly thorny spot: Many in those communities will be watching how aggressively these mayors will defy federal law enforcement during these raids, and some may accuse those same mayors of employing preferential treatment for one vulnerable group over another. It’s an uncomfortable subject, but is a point of tension that Democrats, ahead of 2020, must figure out and tackle head on soon. While the political motivation behind these ICE raids is obviously a strategy to encourage Trump’s core supporter base, the less obvious strategy is to also further disrupt and exacerbate tensions within the Democrats’ core base, as well.