Cold as ICE
June 18, 2019

In a tweet Monday night, President Trump said that "next week," Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents "will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States." Trump appears to be referring to a real plan "in preparation for months that aims to round up thousands of migrant parents and children in a blitz operation across major U.S. cities," The Washington Post notes, but "publicizing a future law enforcement operation is unheard of at ICE."

"U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter," the Post reports. "Executing a large-scale operation of the type under discussion requires hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of U.S. agents and supporting law enforcement personnel, as well as weeks of intelligence gathering and planning," and ICE, busy with the surge of migrants at the border, doesn't appear to have the numbers or the budget to deport "millions" of people.

Still, Trump's acting Homeland Security Department leadership appears more compliant than the officials he pushed out in April, notably Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and ICE director Ronald Vitiello. Both "were ousted after they hesitated to go forward with the plan, expressing concerns about its preparation, effectiveness, and the risk of public outrage from images of migrant children being taken into custody," the Post reports.

The Trump advisers pushing the plan argue a big, dramatic show of mass arrests would serve as a deterrent and warning to undocumented immigrants in defiance of deportation orders, but there are risks other than bad publicity, the Post notes, including the likelihood "that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not." Read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

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