Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will reportedly begin immigration raids in 10 cities over the weekend, days after President Donald Trump pledged that there would be an operation to remove “millions” of people who have entered the United States illegally.
On Friday, June 21, various reports showed that federal immigration officials would start conducting these sweeps as early as Sunday in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco, primarily focusing on individuals who have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges but remain in the country.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump tweeted on Monday, June 17.
The president’s declaration came a day before he officially kicked off his presidential reelection campaign in Orlando, Florida, and amidst continuous concerns on what next moves would affect undocumented immigrants.
He also applauded Mexico, saying it was doing a “very good job stopping people long before they get to our Southern Border,” and that Guatemala was getting ready to sign a “Safe-Third Agreement” which would prohibit Hondurans and Salvadorans traveling through Guatemala from seeking asylum in the U.S.
“The only ones who won’t do anything are the Democrats in Congress,” Trump continued. “They must vote to get rid of the loopholes, and fix asylum! If so, Border Crisis will end quickly!”
Enrique Degenhart, Guatemalan minister of the interior, said on Tuesday, June 18 that while the U.S. and Guatemala were on good terms, no agreement on Guatemala becoming a “safe third country” was made yet.
While Monday’s tweet was just among the latest of his rhetoric pushing for mass deportation, information of ICE actions have typically surfaced after operations have already been executed.
Questions of whether ICE have enough resources and agents to carry such operations have also been raised. As the Washington Postreported, a mass deportation operation would require not only weeks of planning and a sufficient budget, but use of law enforcement personnel and agents who have already been focused on the U.S-Mexico border.
But Mark Morgan, acting director of the ICE said on Wednesday, June 19 they would be going through with plans of deporting undocumented families. He said deportation orders have already been made out for more than 2,000 immigrant family members.
The “millions of illegal aliens” mentioned by Trump refers to the 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S as tallied by the Migration Policy Institute.
As for Filipinos who currently make up about four million of the U.S. population, roughly 300,000 are considered to be undocumented or irregular according to 2017 government statistics. Some groups hold the number much higher.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, more than two million undocumented immigrants reside in California with most coming from Latin America.
In New York, Steven Choi, Executive Director at the New York Immigration Coalition called the planned ICE operation “a new low,” and a “cheap political ploy, played at the expense of vulnerable immigrant families.”
Highlighting the ICE’s lack of resources, he added that the plan comes at a time “when the Administration has already stretched the capacities of our immigration system to its limits, filling detention spaces beyond capacity and going significantly over budget.”
Choi continued, “Threatening to targeting families and children just to score political points is cruel, inhumane and downright stupid — and if this threat actually does comes to New York, we will once again rise up and fight back. For now, we remind our immigrant neighbors to know their rights and contact an attorney as soon as possible after any interaction with immigration enforcement.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom responded on Twitter saying that California would continue to push back against Trump’s deportation actions and described the administration’s immigration policies as a “inhumane” and a “stain on our nation’s history.”
“CA will not allow this admin to intimidate our immigrant communities with mass deportations. We will stand up, speak out and defend the rights of all those in CA,” tweeted Newsom.
“Mass deportations and family separations are vicious and cruel. CA will not stand for these kinds of fear mongering, hate-filled threats. We will always defend the rights of our immigrant communities,” the governor added.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the city’s law enforcement would not participate or assist with civil immigration enforcement.
“Los Angeles will always stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters, and our law enforcement officers will never participate in these actions,” said Garcetti. “No Angeleno should ever have to fear being snatched from their home or separated from their loved ones — and we are doing everything we can to provide immigrant families with the information and support they need.”
In addition, the Mayor’s Office is working closely with FamilySource Centers and the Los Angeles Unified School District to disseminate “Know Your Rights” information in their facilities. The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs is also in direct contact with immigrant advocacy groups — who are partners in the L.A. Justice Fund — to identify people who need help, connect families facing the deportation of a loved one with the legal representation they may need, and assist with rapid response case management. (Rae Ann Varona/AJPress)