United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be carrying out the court-ordered removal of thousands of illegal immigrants nationwide this weekend.
ICE officials intend to carry out raids in 10 American cities Sunday, moving to arrest and process for deportation thousands of illegal migrants whose court proceedings have concluded, according to CNN.
“If you’re here illegally, then you should be removed,” acting ICE Director Mark Morgan told reporters Wednesday. “And in this case, that includes families.”
This weekend’s raids will target more than 2,000 families residing in the United States illegally that had already been served with deportation orders.
According to anonymous sources cited by CNN, Morgan was hesitant about pursuing the raids this weekend over operational concerns and fear of bad optics, but President Donald Trump was reportedly insistent that the operation be carried out quickly as an attempt to restore “integrity” to the immigration system.
The raids are an attempt at reinforcing the fact that illegal immigrants using their families as a shield from removal will not be deemed beyond reproach.
“This is not about fear,” Morgan said in an ABC News Live interview. “No one is instilling fear in anyone. This is about the rule of law and maintaining the integrity of the system.”
“Right now, the greatest pull factors for families to come here is they know that once they arrive in the U.S., they remain here untouched. We have to change that,” Morgan said.
The raids had been planned for several months, with initial letters being served to families in February and ICE agents being trained for the operation over several months, according to CNN.
The court orders were sent to illegal immigrant families in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.
Those served with orders were asked to report to ICE for removal on their free will and volition by March, lest they be arrested. Few responded and the issue was not followed up on — until a set of Tuesday tweets from Trump pressed the agency to carry out the operation, and fast.
“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 wrote. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
….long before they get to our Southern Border. Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement. The only ones who won’t do anything are the Democrats in Congress. They must vote to get rid of the loopholes, and fix asylum! If so, Border Crisis will end quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
Another anonymous source within the Department of Homeland Security told CNN that Trump’s tweet had been a major factor in kick-starting Sunday’s operation.
“Certainly, the president’s tweet helped prioritize things for people,” the official said.
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