Starting Sunday, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) is expected to resume its previously announced plan to apprehend thousands of illegal immigrants across the country. country.
This revitalized effort came just weeks after President Trump's tweet that ICE was preparing to launch raids in at least 10 major cities. The operation was interrupted, however, the day before its launch, to give Congress time to reach a legislative solution with regard to immigration. Trump said his administration would restart the raids after a two-week window – after Independence Day observance – and that moment now seems to have arrived.
So, why are the raids announced days in advance?
"It's unprecedented. But there is a political goal behind that, "said Thomas Kilbride, retired officer of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE policy advisor to Fox News. He said the president had tried to convince the Democrats to come to the table because the asylum laws had to change and that was a way to negotiate.
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CIE agents should target at least 2,000 immigrants who have already been on the deportation list, but Kilbride said there would be "collateral" fallout.
What does it mean, though? In the United States, about one million people are under a removal order, but according to officials, those with a criminal background are in demand. If any other stowaways are located with a person of interest, they will also be arrested as part of these fallout.
It remains to be seen whether political ambitions linked to the operation will be successful.
"At a minimum, asylum laws must change, so that people stay out of the country when applying for asylum or at a foreign embassy," said M Kilbride. "What we see at the border is unprecedented."
Other experts pointed out that Trump's announcements were a gesture – and that they were not a legal obligation on the part of the administration.
"The bottom line is that the Trump administration is trying to get around some of the backlash on the other side of the aisle. This sends the message that these people have been deported and that if they do not do so, it could happen, "said Steve Bucci, Homeland Security expert at the Heritage Foundation. "It means we are not monsters, we act according to the law and in a reasonable way.
"Previous administrations did not announce the raids because they did not have to do it, they just did them."
However, the heads-up also means that many may have left the known addresses of the DHS in the weeks following the start of the raids, which further impairs their effectiveness.
"Some may hide or go to a church providing sanctuary," Bucci continued.
Erin Corcoran, immigration expert and executive director of the Kroc Institute of Notre Dame for International Peace Studies, said that in the past, the searches were not announced at the time. advance by the immigration services, just as they are not when the forces of law and order are involved; when the information is exposed, it can most often prove detrimental to an operation.
"There have sometimes been leaks by individuals, but the announcement of searches in advance has never been a political choice. This compromises the effectiveness of the raids. Targeted people may relocate or refuse to answer when immigration officers knock on the door because they anticipate raids, "she said. "The raids were conducted by other administrations, often against some types of immigration violations, including criminal convictions. However, previous administrations have not carried out any immigration operation targeting families or children.
"It is unclear why this administration announces these raids preventively, and I think there is disagreement within the administration about these raids."
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The public announcement of upcoming raids has inspired a number of hashtags campaigns, ranging from #protecteachother to #knowyourights, to provide undocumented migrants with information about civil liberties, including the right to silence and lawyer.
The acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, said this week that the raids would "absolutely unfold", although he did not give a specific date for the "Deployment of operational elements".
Matthew Bourke, an ICE spokesman, told reporters Wednesday that his agency "favors the arrest and removal of illegally present aliens who pose a threat to national security, security and security." public and border security ", but also declined to comment on the details, citing" law enforcement and security "of ICE staff.
In fact, some officials have expressed concern that public mission reporting is a serious concern for officer safety.
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At the same time, however, some lawmakers and legal experts assume that the leak of information from within could also be designed for raids to be stopped again.
San Diego-based immigration lawyer Saman Nasseri said disclosure of information in advance about raids is problematic, not only for security reasons, but also because of the frequency with which people away, which makes tracking targets difficult. He predicts that "the operation will most likely be delayed again".
The concept of immigration reform should be at the forefront of Trump's re-election campaign in 2020 and has long been a priority in his presidential program. While migratory flows have shown signs of slowing over the past month, the Trump team has long faced the problem of large numbers of immigrants – mainly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – crossing the border. south with Mexico. According to government records, more than 330,000 families have entered the United States illegally since the beginning of October.
DHS has not responded to a request for additional comment.