President Trump has directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to conduct a mass roundup of migrant families that have received deportation orders, an operation that is likely to begin with predawn raids in major U.S. cities on Sunday, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of the plans.
The “family op,” as it is referred to at ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, is slated to target up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders in as many as 10 U.S. cities, including Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, and San Francisco by this weekend, congressional offices and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sources told the Miami Herald.
Earlier this week, a Trump administration official confirmed that ICE will specifically target for deportation as many as 1 million people “who have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges yet remain at large in the country.”
Among those to be targeted first, sources said: minors who came into the U.S. without their parents and have since turned 18; people who were ordered removed in absentia; and people who missed a court hearing and did not respond to letters mailed to their homes by the Department of Justice.
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Two ICE enforcement briefings were held this week, one on Wednesday, led by ICE Deputy Director Matthew T. Albence, the other on Thursday by Henry Lucero, field office director for the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations in Phoenix.
On the call led by Albence, the target cities were mentioned, although the timing was not shared.
The plan might also focus on a very targeted population: recent arrivals from the border with a final order of removal. In certain communities, including South Florida, these families have received “case management” services from an ICE contractor, or might still be in detention. ICE would have access to the information provided to the case manager, including addresses and contact information for these clients.
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People rounded up for deportation will be held at family detention centers. During Lucero’s briefing, he said if there were to be U.S. citizen children involved, a parent or guardian would be issued an ankle monitor while they made arrangements on where the child will stay as deportation proceedings move forward.
Lucero said that in March about 2,100 people got letters in the mail asking them to go to immigration court, but that only 65 showed up. The remaining received orders for deportation.
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