A nationwide operation targeting thousands of undocumented migrant families will reportedly begin on Sunday. The New York Times says raids are expected to take place in at least 10 major cities, and will be conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE is reportedly targeting about 2,000 migrants who are here illegally and were ordered deported. The agency has said that while its focus is on arresting people with criminal histories, any immigrant found in violation of U.S. laws would be subject to arrest.
Last Friday, President Trump renewed his threat to order mass deportations of undocumented migrant families. The raids were postponed in June after the president previewed the operations on Twitter, stating ICE would remove “millions of illegal aliens.”
The raids have been a flash point in immigrant communities across the country. But acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan disputed the term “raid” in an interview with CBS News last month, instead labeling the action “interior enforcement.”
“If you are a mother with a kid, is that mother going to be handcuffed? No, she doesn’t need to be handcuffed,” Morgan added. “But if you are a criminal alien and you’ve been convicted of murder, sexual assault, and et cetera, are you going to handcuffed? You bet ya, you are going to be handcuffed.”
The possible raids come amid increasing scrutiny over conditions at migrant detention centers. On Wednesday, reporters toured a new Health and Human Services facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Video shows clean rooms and children in classrooms – which contrasts troubling images from a recent DHS Inspector General report that condemned unsanitary conditions and dangerous overcrowding at some CBP facilities.
In an emotional hearing Wednesday, Yazmin Juárez said she blamed unsafe conditions and poor medical care at an ICE detention center in Dilley, Texas for the death of her 1-year-old daughter Mariee. Lawmakers were visibly shaken by her testimony, and some were brought to tears.
“It’s like they tore out a piece of my heart,” she said in Spanish. “Like they tore out my soul.”
As for unaccompanied migrant children, U.S. officials said yesterday that there are only about 200 in CBP custody, down from 2,500 in May.