June 22 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Saturday said he will delay for two weeks raids of illegal immigrants scheduled to start in 10 cities in an effort to work out a solution in Congress.
The president’s decision came one day after the plans, including targeted cities, were revealed, drawing outrage from mayors in the affected locations.
“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” Trump posted on Twitter on Saturday afternoon. If not, Deportations start!
The upcoming raids, based on cases filed in 10 immigration court locations — Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco — were to target approximately 2,000 people, according to a senior immigration official. The report was confirmed by other media outlets.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reacting to media reports on the plans, had said on Friday in a statement: “Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to ongoing enforcement operations before the conclusion of those actions.”
But Trump confirmed the plans on Saturday.
“The people that Ice will apprehend have already been ordered to be deported,” Trump tweeted . “This means that they have run from the law and run from the courts. These are people that are supposed to go back to their home country. They broke the law by coming into the country, and now by staying.”
Then, he posted on Twitter: When people come into our Country illegally, they will be DEPORTED!
On Friday, a senior immigration official confirmed to CNN that ICE is moving forward to arrest and deport families with court ordered removal following Trump’s tweet Monday, on the eve of his re-election rally in Orlando, Fla., that ICE would began an operation next week to remove “millions of illegal aliens,” telling CNN the operation had been planned for some time, but Trump’s tweet moved it to the forefront.
“Certainly, the president’s tweet helped prioritize things for people,” the official said. “There has been an effort to communicate what is likely to happen, without saying specifically when and where,” contrary to the “zero tolerance” policy of family separations, which was done without advanced notice.
ICE had been preparing agents and equipment for the operation starting Sunday morning and lasting several days, officials told The Washington Post.
ICE sent around 2,000 letters to families in February who had already received final orders of removal by judges in absentia, asking them to self-report to local ICE offices by March to comply with orders, acting head of ICE Mark Morgan said.
The imminent operation has raised concern about more family separations.
Though the operation is expected to include families on an expedited court docket, Morgan said the goal was “not to separate families,” but to deter migrants from coming to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Still, city mayors have spoken out against the expected raids.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday the Chicago Police Department will not cooperate with he raids.
“We are all aware of the threat from President Trump regarding raids by ICE, and in response, Chicago has taken concrete steps to support our immigrant communities,” Lightfoot wrote in a four-part Tweet. “I have directed – and Superintendent Johnson has confirmed – that CPD has terminated ICE’s access to CPD’s databases related to federal immigration enforcement activities. I have also personally spoken with ICE leadership in Chicago and voiced my strong objection to any such raids. Further, I reiterated that CPD will not cooperate with or facilitate any ICE enforcement actions.”
She concluded that “Chicago will always be a welcoming city and a champion for the rights of our immigrant and refugee communities, and I encourage any resident in need of legal aid to contact the National Immigrant Justice Center.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also said his city would not assist in the immigration raids.
“Los Angeles will always stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters, and our law enforcement officers will never participate in these actions,” Garcetti said in a statement. “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.”
Also challenging the raids was Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, whose city hosted the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials annual conference on Friday and Saturday.
“As a city, Miami thrives on the diversity of its people — it’s who we are,” Saurez said in a statement. “We are a city of immigrants. We agree that criminals, like dangerous gang members who came here illegally, should be deported immediately. As mayor, I trust that only those individuals who represent a clear and present danger to our communities will be affected by this DHS policy.”
New York City linked to Immigrant Defense Project’s KNOW YOUR RIGHTS with ICE, including phone numbers to contact in the region.
“We know our neighbors are worried,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio posted on Twitter. Please know your city is here for you. Resources are here for those who have received an order from immigration courts or have concerns about their status.”
“The Trump Administration’s overbroad enforcement serves only to tear immigrant families apart, create an environment of fear, and divide us as a nation,” de Blasio said. That’s not how we operate in New York City and we will always stand proudly alongside our immigrant brothers and sisters.”
Trump told reporters Saturday before leaving for Camp David: “Some cities are going to fight it. Many of those cities are high-crime and sanctuary cities.”
Undocumented immigrants will likely be moved to ICE family residential detention centers after arrests, the official said. Some people will appeal their cases, and eventually some will be deported.
Parents of U.S. citizen children will be fitted with an ankle bracelet and allowed to stay with children to get affairs in order while other undocumented family members remain in custody, an official said.
The mass deportations Trump has warned of have not come to fruition and and his deportation numbers are actually less than those seen during the Obama presidency.
Between fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018, 256,085 people were deported compared to 400,000 people deported in 2012 under the Obama administration.
Still, the Obama administration used discretion over which illegal crossing cases to prosecute, only separating families in particular circumstances above the typical case of illegal entry, such as a father carrying drugs, Leon Fresco, a deputy assistant attorney general under Obama, said.
The zero-tolerance policy under Trump announced in April of last year separated more than 2,000 children from their parents to deter future migration and was halted months later by executive order.