A few weeks after President Trump announced that he was delaying a sweeping action on illegal aliens to give Democrats the chance to work out solutions for securing the border, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly poised to conduct a series of raids Sunday targeting at least 2,000 illegal aliens "who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security."
The New York Times first reported on the raids early Thursday, describing the operation as targeting "thousands of immigrant family members" and stressing the potential for "collateral" deportations. The deportation of the 2,000 or so immigrants has already been ordered, unnamed Department of Homeland Security officials told the Times. Others, officials say, may end up getting arrested if they are found to be living illegally in the country.
"As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security," an ICE spokesman told the paper when asked for comment. As for family members and other un-targeted illegal aliens being caught up in the raid, the spokesman said they too would be rounded up. "However, all of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and – if found removable by final order – removal from the United States," he said.
The spokesman said he could offer no specifics on the operation due to "law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel." U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli confirmed to the press Wednesday that the raids are definitely going to be conducted, but likewise offered no details.
According to the Associated Press, the raids were previously called off not only for political reasons but for safety concerns for ICE agents. Sources told AP that ICE officials pressed for a delay of the raids after details about the operation were leaked to the press.
"The June operation was expected to target 2,000 families in as many as 10 cities, including Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami," Fox News explains. "Last month, President Trump announced on Twitter that he wants ICE agents to start the process of 'removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the U.S.'"
The operation was delayed when Trump announced that he would give Congress a chance to hammer out some border solutions after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asked Trump to cancel the raids. If AP's sources are correct, Trump's delay was also a strategic attempt to protect ICE officers.