Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are planning to raid thousands of addresses to arrest and deport migrant families this Sunday, according to a report from the New York Times.
Based on information from one former and two current homeland security officials, the Times reported that ICE agents are currently preparing to conduct the nationwide raids, which will play out over multiple days. They will also include “collateral” deportations, in which agents will arrest migrants on the scene who are not on their target list.
The officials said that where possible, families will be housed together in detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania, but in some cases, they will be kept in hotel rooms until their travel documents can be prepared for deportation.
The raids are designed as a show of force to warn migrant families who are thinking of crossing the southern border.
But it is unclear how successful the operation will be, as many of the thousands of illegal migrants on the list may have already moved address. And, lawyers representing the families will likely file motions to reopen their immigration cases, delaying their deportations significantly.
ICE agents are also not allowed to force their way into any property, meaning migrants who don’t answer the door cannot be forcibly removed — a fact that has spread through immigrant communities seeking to protect themselves.
Late last month, President Donald Trump postponed an operation that was set to target 2,000 asylum-seeking families, and gave Congress a few weeks to “work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.”
Trump had tweeted that the raids were about to happen, blindsiding agents and tipping migrants off about raids that were due to take place in 10 cities against migrants who had already been issued deportation orders by a federal judge.
Trump called off the operation at the last minute after talking to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, but afterward issued an ultimatum that appeared to foreshadow next Sunday’s raids.
“Probably won’t happen, but worth a try,” Trump wrote on Twitter on June 23. “Two weeks and big Deportation begins!”
Late last month, Congress approved a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package to help border agents cope with the surge in migrants from Central America crossing the border, though it does not contain additional protections for minors or restrictions on how the money can be spent, two additions that Democrats wanted to include.
But on Friday, Trump repeated his warning, saying the raids would begin “fairly soon.”
“I say they came in illegally, and we’re bringing them out legally,” the president told reporters.
Cover: In this Oct. 22, 2018, photo U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents surround and detain a person during a raid in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)