‘ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security…’
(Molly O’Toole, Los Angeles Times) WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement could target thousands of illegal immigrants across the U.S. on Sunday for deportation, after delaying a plan President Donald Trump announced last month on Twitter.
ICE is expected to pursue at least 2,000 immigrants who have missed court appearances or been ordered removed from the U.S. The new schedule for the raids was first reported Thursday by The New York Times.
The raids are expected in cities across the U.S., leading to an outcry from advocates and Trump opponents that the ultimate intent of the raids may be to instill fear in immigrant communities to deter further migration. Trump often employs the tactic of threatening, but ultimately not taking action, in order to extract concessions.
“This is not an effort to root out dangerous criminals,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor Thursday. “This is an act of brutish force designed to spread fear. … ‘Make them afraid, and maybe they won’t come.’”
ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke would not confirm any pending raids or offer further details, citing “law enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.”
“As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” he said in a statement Thursday. “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.”
Department of Homeland Security and White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The Police Chief of sanctuary city Los Angeles, Michel Moore, said in an interview that the department had not been made aware of any increased enforcement.
LAPD officials have contacted community and immigration advocates across the city to reiterate that its officers are not participating in any sweeps, Moore said.
While federal officials continue to conduct routine enforcement in the city, the LAPD does not and will not participate in the enforcement of civil administrative law, Moore said.
“Our posture remains the same,” Moore told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re not involved in any fashion or form. This is separate and apart” from the Los Angeles police.
“We are committed to protecting the people of Los Angeles through community engagement, relationship building and strict adherence to the law,” he added.
Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said any widespread ICE raids would hurt the LAPD’s relationship with the Latino community.
“I’m worried about ICE impersonating the LAPD,” Soboroff said (without providing any evidence that ICE engages in such activity), “who spend an inordinate amount of time each day trying to build trust in the community. This does nothing but scare the community. We’re in the trust-building business. It’s very hurtful to everybody in Los Angeles.”
On July 1, Trump signed into law a $4.5 billion bill to address a surge in migration to the southwest border. Last month, apprehensions at the border decreased by about 28%, from 132,880 in May to 94,897 in June. Officials attribute the decline to increased enforcement by Mexico and summer heat, among other factors.
(Times staff writer Mark Puente in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)
©2019 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.