Trump Delays ICE Raids and Gives Democrats Ultimatum on Asylum Laws

President Donald Trump temporarily delayed nationwide raids to deport undocumented immigrants in 10 cities, he announced on Saturday, June 22. However, he threatened to resume the plan in two weeks if Democrats failed to approve changes to asylum laws.

“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. If not, deportations start!” Trump tweeted. The announcement was made as the president met with aides at Camp David and attempted to pressure Democrats to give into his immigration demands, according to The New York Times. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Trump on June 21 and asked him to call off the deportation raids, CNN reported.Trump defended the raids early on Saturday, claiming that undocumented families were evading the law.

“The people that ICE will apprehend have already been ordered to be deported,” he 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, & now by staying.”A senior Democratic aide told CNN that the president is “trying to create leverage in a situation where he has none.” The aide added, “Democrats aren’t going to compromise their values. He’s walked away from several deals on immigration. We have no illusions here.”

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Mark Morgan appeared on Fox News on Saturday to state that Trump’s delay would “give Congress another chance on a bipartisan method to actually get together, pass this supplement, so that we can enforce the rule of law, positively impact this crisis, and maintain the integrity of this system.”On June 24, the president said he wanted to give Democrats “every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to asylum and loopholes.” Trump said these changes would “fix” the crisis at the US-Mexico border. “Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big deportation begins,” he tweeted.

ICE agents planned to raid immigrant communities in 10 cities, including Los Angeles, Houston, New York, and Miami, on June 23.

ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials said the raids, which officials referred to as “family op,” would target 2,000 families, The Washington Post reported. The raid was scheduled to unfold across several days beginning on June 23. Officials planned to use hotel rooms to detain parents and children until all family members were ready for deportation. They were also prepared to arrest undocumented immigrants, or “collateral arrests,” who could not be immediately deported. Those individuals would be released with ankle monitoring devices, according to The Washington Post.Pelosi criticized the planned raids, calling them “heartless” and a “brutal action which will tear families apart and inject terror into our communities.”

“These families are hard-working members of our communities and our country. The President’s action makes no distinction between a status violation and committing a serious crime,” Pelosi added in a statement.Acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan urged ICE to instead carry out a targeted raid that would aim to detain a group of approximately 150 families. This operation would focus on families that were provided with attorneys but abandoned the legal process and fled, The Washington Post reported. McAleenan also warned that a large-scale deportation operation could separate children from her parents.Pelosi later applauded Trump’s announcement that the raids would be delayed. “Mr. President, delay is welcome. Time is needed for comprehensive immigration reform. Families belong together,” she tweeted.

The Trump administration has pushed Congress to act on immigration as migrants approach the southern border. More than 140,000 migrants were arrested at the border in May, according to the latest US Customs and Border Protection statistics. Unaccompanied migrant children made up more than 11,500 of those detained at the border.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.