June 22 (UPI) — Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing to begin an immigration raid Sunday in 10 cities.
The upcoming raid, based on cases filed in 10 immigration court locations — Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco — will target approximately 2,000 people, according to a senior immigration official. The report was confirmed by other media outlets.
“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,” ICE said in a statement Friday.
But Present Donald Trump confirmed the plans.
“The people that Ice will apprehend have already been ordered to be deported,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “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!
The 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 has 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, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also challenged the raids.
“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,” Suarez said.
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.