US President Donald Trump said on Friday that raids to capture and deport large numbers of undocumented people living in the country would begin “shortly,” while pro-immigrant activists promised that their communities would be ” lists “when the agents arrive.
Trump, who has made his hard line against illegal immigration a central theme of his presidency and his campaign for reelection in 2020, postponed the operation last month after the proposed date was leaked to the press, but on Monday he said that the raids would take place after the July 4th festivities on Independence Day.
“They will start shortly, but I do not call them raids, we’re taking people out, all those people who for years have come illegally,” he told reporters at the White House on Friday.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) said last month that the raids would focus on undocumented immigrants who have recently arrived in the United States, to discourage Central American families arriving in large numbers at the border. Southwest of the country.
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s statement.
ICE operations would include “collateral arrests,” meaning that undocumented immigrants who are not directly targeted by agents will also be detained.
Government documents published this week by immigrant rights advocacy groups showed that some previous ICE raids registered more collateral arrests than arrests of the undocumented immigrants they targeted.
Activist groups say that this general and imminent threat to the undocumented is detrimental to the communities and the US economy, forcing adults to miss work and children to skip school for fear they may be detained and separated.
“We have to be ready, not just when Trump announces it because there are arrests every day and they have increased,” said Elsa Lopez, organizer of the Somos Un Pueblo Unido, a New Mexico immigrant workers and rights group.
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