2019-06-18 18:29:181 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: ICE officer arresting a suspect (Image source: Public domain)
On the eve of the kickoff to his reelection campaign, Donald Trump tweeted that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will be making mass arrests beginning next week. This seems to be in reference to a previously-announced plan to arrest migrant families in major U.S. cities.
"Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States," wrote Trump, vowing, "They will be removed as fast as they come in."
While such large scale efforts are usually kept under wraps, this one has not been, and this could be because this is more about letting Trump's base know as he kicks off his reelection campaign that he is still strong at the border, despite not being successful with any of his border plans as of yet.
Trump and senior adviser Stephen Miller have been after Homeland Security to put this plan into motion. "Rocket Docket," as it's known, was expedited by the Justice Department.
This plan is the reason former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former acting ICE Director Ron Vitiello are no longer with the administration, as they had concerns about putting this plan in motion.
Former FBI and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan, who has made statements in favor of stricter immigration enforcement, replaced Vitiello. So far he has said he plans to bolster interior enforcement and enforce deportation orders given to families.
"Our next challenge is going to be interior enforcement," he told reporters earlier this month. "We will be going after individuals who have gone through due process and who have received final orders of deportation."
"That will include families," he promised, while adding that agents will be treating families "with compassion and humanity."
While U.S officials with knowledge of the plan said recently there were no imminent plans to put it into motion, ICE officials said late Monday they weren't aware Trump planned to tweet about the plans.
His claim of "millions" being deported also doesn't measure up with the reality of staff and budget that they're working with. ICE arrests have been declining these past few months because so many agents have been busy with the record numbers of migrants moving across the Mexican/U.S. border.
Homeland Security officials have concerns of families being separated when the plan is carried out. Some children are citizens while their children are not, and parents may be arrested and deported while their children are at school, camp, a friend's house, daycare, etc. But this administration is known for not being bothered by what will happen to immigrant children
Miller, Morgan, and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence believe this measure will send a strong message to families and hope it will act as a deterrent.
Trump administration officials criticized Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf last year when she warned immigrants about a raid. They believe she endangered agents' safety.
She responded to Trump's tweet about the impending plan, writing, "If you continue to threaten, target, and terrorize families in my community ... and if we receive credible information ... you already know what our values are in Oakland — and we will unapologetically stand up for those values."
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