U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Friday it is launching a billboard campaign in Pennsylvania highlighting immigrants who have been labeled “at-large immigration violators,” The Hill reported.
The unprecedented campaign, taking place in one of the nation’s most hotly contested swing states, will highlight immigrants who were released by local law enforcement under so-called sanctuary policies and ICE says, “may pose a public safety threat.”
ICE is basing its campaign on the claim that local agencies “fail to honor immigration detainers” it issues and release “serious criminal offenders,” in turn hindering its efforts to protect the public.
“Too often sanctuary policies limiting cooperation with ICE result in significant public safety concerns,” said senior official Tony Pham. “ICE will continue to enforce immigration laws set forth by Congress through the efforts of the men and women of ICE to remove criminal aliens and making our communities safer.”
The billboards will feature the names and faces of the immigrants as well as what they were charged with and which law enforcement agency released them.
Studies have shown that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than American-born citizens.
The announcement comes as polls show a tight race brewing in Pennsylvania, which President Trump narrowly won in 2016 over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Immigration is a top animating issue for Trump’s base, which rallied behind his call four years ago to build a wall on the border with Mexico.