A nationwide crackdown targeting thousands of illegal immigrants in New York and other major cities began late Saturday night.
Agents are looking for a list of more than 2,000 people who have been ordered deported.
“We are doing targeted enforcement actions against specific individuals who have had their day in immigration court and have been ordered to be removed by an immigration judge,” explains acting ICE Director Matt Albence. “We are merely executing those lawfully issued judge’s orders.”
“They’re not undocumented,” adds Ken Cuccinelli, acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director. “They’ve got a court order on a piece of paper – federal order – that says they’ve gotten due process, and [there are] over a million people with removal orders. That’s the pool that ICE is drawing from.”
In February, ICE sent letters to these individuals offering them a chance for orderly removal from the US; only 3% of people responded. “At this point, we have no choice but to go out and execute those lawfully-issued removal orders from an immigration judge,” says Albence.
The target list includes entire families, which will be held together in federal detention centers in Pennsylvania and Texas until authorities run out of space. If undocumented parents are found to have children who are US citizens, ICE agents will wait with the kids until a relative can be found.
To highlight the need for a crackdown, ICE on Sunday published a list of recent incidents where nonresidents who were released despite detainer requests went on to commit new crimes including rape, murder, burglary, assault, drug possession, and DUI.
ICE agents will focus on criminals “as much as we can before we do anything else,” said Trump.
It is unclear how successful the raids will be given publicity. ICE agents are not allowed to forcibly enter a home and advocates in major cities are going door to door providing information on immigrants’ rights. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said his city would not cooperate.
CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan described these efforts as “unconscionable.”
“This is about going after individuals here illegally…Any city, any law enforcement agency that resists, does not cooperate, they’re actually putting those cities in higher danger,” he said.
Based on the success of previous raids, we can expect about 200 arrests.
The raid had initially been planned for June 23rd. On June 22nd, Trump offered to cancel it if lawmakers could work out a deal in two weeks. As expected, they failed to do so and the Administration went through with its plans.
“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the illegal immigration removal process (deportation) for two weeks and see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the Southern Border,” tweeted Trump on June 22nd. “If not, deportations start!”
Editor’s note: Trump has shown over and over again that he is serious about closing the borders to illegal immigration and dealing with illegals here. This could be the beginning of a much more restrictive environment for illegal immigrants.