The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that efforts to expel families who were ordered to leave the country would continue afterthat President Trump said would begin Sunday.
Matthew Albence, acting director of the agency, said the targets were on an "accelerated record" of cases in immigration courts for mostly Central American nationals who recently arrived at the US border in New York. unprecedented number. Similar operations took place in 2016 under former President Barack Obama and in 2017 under Mr. Trump.
"This family operation is nothing new," Albence told The Associated Press. "This is part of our day-to-day operations.We are trying to mobilize additional resources to deal with this glut of fast track business, but after the end of this operation, these cases will always be viable cases that we will be there to investigate. and continue. "
The operation will target people subject to final deportation orders on 10 major lawsuits, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Albence said that this does not mean that arrests will be limited to certain areas. The authorities will go where their investigations lead, even if there are five states where the case is filed.
Trump said the authorities were "focused on criminals as much as possible before doing anything".
"It starts on Sunday and they are going to get people out and they are going to bring them back to their country where they are going to bring out the criminals, put them in jail or put them in jail in the country has come from."
The operation further ignited the political debate on immigration while Mr Trump was appealing to his grassroots base in pledging to crack down on migrants and that the Democrats blamed the president and his administration for the misery. be inhuman if they attacked families.
The family operation of the Obama era in 2016 resulted in the arrest of about 10% of targeted people, and the 2017 effort had a lower arrest rate said Albence. Other operations that targeted people with criminal arrest histories gave arrest rates of about 30%, thanks to access to force databases. of order.
"If you have a person who has been arrested for a criminal offense, you will have much more investigator imprint," Albence said.
Administration officials said they were targeting about 2,000 people, resulting in about 200 arrests on the basis of previous crackdowns. Mr Trump said on Twitter that his agents were planning to illegally arrest millions of immigrants in the country.
It is very unusual to announce a police attack before it starts. The president had already postponed this effort after a phone call with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but immigration officials explained that this was also due in part to the concerns of US forces. order concerning the safety of police officers, due to leakage of details.
But they are going ahead with this one, even though the president and other senior administration officials have been discussing for months the family operation planned long ago.
"Nothing should be secret," said Trump. "If the message is spread, it will be because hundreds of people know it."
The operation will target entire families who have been deported, but some families may be separated if some members are legally in the country. Albence gave a hypothetical example of a father and a child illegally in the United States, but of a mother who is not
"If the mother wants to return alone with the family, she will have the opportunity to do so," he said.
Families can be accommodated temporarily in hotels until they can be transferred to a detention center or expelled. Marriott said that it would not allow ICE to use its hotels to accommodate immigrants.
If ICE runs out of space, he might be forced to separate some family members, explained Albence. The government has little space in its family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania.
"If hotels or other places do not want to let us use that, we are almost obliged to find ourselves in a situation where we are going to have to take one of the parents, put him in custody and separate him from the rest of the family. their family, "he said.
Meanwhile, activists have stepped up their efforts to prepare by broadcasting information on emergency phone lines and planning public events. Guards outside detention centers and hundreds of other locations across the country were scheduled for Friday night, followed by demonstrations Saturday in Miami and Chicago.
The impending raids take place in the controversy over detention centers for migrants at the border. Democrats argue that the overcrowding of these facilities creates inhumane conditions, compounded by radical repressive policies, while Republicans attribute this to their reluctance to endorse stricter immigration laws.
The House oversight and reform committee held a hearing on the treatment of migrants on the southern border on Friday, after the committee's Democrats released a report on poor detention conditions in detention centers.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezabout his visit to a border facility, claiming that "cruelty (at the border) is fabricated" by radical immigration policies ordered by the president.
"When these women told me that they had been put in a cell and their sink was not working, we tested the sink ourselves and it did not work. I believe in these women, "she said.
"We do not receive accounts of migrants, their treatment, what they live," Ocasio-Cortez continued. Ocasio-Cortez said the worst of his visit was that there were "American flags on all these facilities".