President Trump said in a tweet Monday night that US immigration officials were planning to carry out massive arrests from "next week", apparently making reference to a plan being prepared for several month aimed at bringing together thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across the country. big American cities.
"Next week, ICE will begin the process of eliminating the millions of illegal aliens who have illegally entered the United States," Trump said. wrote, referring to US immigration and the enforcement of customs laws. "They will be kidnapped as fast as they will enter."
Large-scale ice operations are usually kept secret to avoid warning targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, Calif., With criminal prosecutions for warning residents of the city that raids on immigration were ongoing.
Trump and his senior immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, have urged homeland security officials to arrest and return thousands of family members whose deportation orders had been expedited by the Justice Department this year as part of a plan known as the "rocket file".
In April, ICE Acting Director Ronald Vitiello and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were ousted for hesitating to follow through on this plan. of their families.
Vitiello was replaced at ICE by Mark Morgan, former FBI and Border Patrol official, who had impressed the president with statements on cable television in favor of harsh immigration control measures.
During his first two weeks at ICE, Morgan publicly stated that he intended to strengthen domestic policing and prosecute families with deportation orders.
"Our next challenge will be the enforcement of domestic law," Morgan told reporters on June 4 in Washington. "We will target those who have complied with the rules of procedure and who have received a final deportation order.
"This will include families," he said, adding that ICE agents would treat parents and children whom they stop "with compassion and humanity".
US officials familiar with the preparations said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday that they did not know the president was considering to disclose their application plans on Twitter.
The execution of a large-scale operation of the type under discussion requires hundreds – and perhaps thousands – of US agents and law enforcement auxiliary personnel, as well as weeks of information gathering and planning to verify the addresses and locations of people to be arrested.
The president's assertion that ICE deported "millions" was also at odds with the reality of the agency's personnel and budget problems. The ICE arrests in the US interior have declined in recent months as so many agents are busy managing the record number of migrant families on the southern border with Mexico.
The family arrest plan was considered even more delicate than a classic operation because of the involvement of children. Homeland Security officials have expressed serious concern that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, not least because parents of some households have deportation orders, but their children whose children are US citizens – might not. If adults are arrested without their children because they are in school, daycare, holiday camp or friend's home, it is possible for parents to be deported while their children are left behind.
Proponents of this plan, including Miller, Morgan and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence, have forcefully asserted that such a dramatic and high-profile operation would send a message to families who are defying the measures of 39 expulsion and could have a deterrent effect.
According to security officials, almost all unauthorized migrants who came to the United States in 2017 in family groups remain in the country. Some of these families are waiting for their asylum claims to be settled, but government officials say that a growing number of people are escaping the hearings hoping to be able to live and work in the United States for as long as they can. as possible.
Advertising of a future law enforcement operation is unknown at ICE. The Trump administration strongly criticized Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf last year for warning immigrants of an impending raid, saying it threatened the safety of the agents.
"The Oakland Mayor's decision to report his suspicions about ICE operations further increased the risk for my officers and alerted the alien criminals – stating that this reckless decision was based on his political agenda with the laws very federal that ICE had vowed to respect, "then -ICE Director Thomas D. Homan said at the time.
Homan later retired, but last week Trump announced that Homan would return to the public service as a "border czar". At Fox News, Homan called the announcement "premature" and said he had not yet decided to accept the job.
Schaaf responded late Monday night to the president's tweet teasing the impending raids on ICE.
"If you continue to threaten, target and terrorize families in my community. . . and if we receive credible information. . . you already know what our values are in Oakland – and we will defend those values without fail, "she said. wrote.