Trump forewarned of the planned operation in a June 17 Twitter message, but it was delayed partly because of disagreements within the administration, the Times reported on Thursday (July 11).
Immigrant advocates said the advance word of the raids could enable at least some of those targeted to evade arrest while others said the advance notice was a way for the administration to “sow chaos” in immigrant communities.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement it would not offer specific details related to any upcoming enforcement operations but that “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.
“People should keep the door closed, they should not open the door for anyone, only if the agent has a warrant signed by judge with the correct name and family name and the correct address of that person. If there is nobody in the house that goes by that name then you don’t have to open the door,” said Tessie Borden, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) in Los Angeles.
“Immigration raids in our community are something that is very traumatic and so when they announce them ahead of time I think part of the intent is to sow chaos in our community, part of the intent is to try to confuse people, to scare them, to put them on edge,” she added.
The operation would target some 2,000 families whose immigration cases had been expedited in a special court docket and resulted in deportation orders, the Times said.
By comparison, ICE typically detains about 12,000 people per month, not including Border Patrol arrests near the border.
Facing a re-election battle next year, Trump will want to show his supporters that he is delivering on campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration, a signature policy objective of his administration.
The threatened arrests come after apprehensions of migrants on the southwest border hit a 13-year high in May before easing in June as Mexico increased immigration enforcement.
Planning for the operation was rapidly changing, and final details were in flux, the Times reported.
ICE agents will carry out the operation over several days starting July 14, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources including two current and one former homeland security officials.