Jun 21, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump orders ICE to round up families starting Sunday

President Trump

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump has ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to round up nearly 2,000 undocumented migrant families with deportation orders in 10 major U.S. cities starting Sunday morning, according to the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The large-scale sweep, termed "family op," is part of Trump's broad immigration plan. ICE agents only have the last-known addresses of the migrant families, and White House and ICE officials anticipate many "collateral arrests by finding foreigners living in the country illegally at or near the target locations," the Post reports.


  • Targeted cities include: Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City and San Francisco.
  • ICE intends to hold parents and children in hotel rooms until families are reunited before deportation, according to the Washington Post. Those who can't be deported immediately may be released with ankle bracelets.

The big picture: The White House is communicating directly with Acting ICE Director Mark Morgan — cutting Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan out of the conversation, according to the Washington Post.

  • McAleenan had implored ICE to carry out a more direct operation, focusing on just 150 families and warning that these sweeping "roundups" could separate children from their parents.

What they're saying:

  • “We’re enforcing the law against all demographics, and we’re trying to send a message to the family units that don’t come here and don’t put your life at risk, your children’s life at risk,” Morgan told ABC News.
  • Morgan told reporters this week that, “We’re at the point right now where we have no other choice but to use our interior enforcement statutory authority to identify where these individuals are and remove them," per the Post.

Between the lines: Trump tweeted earlier this week about imminent ICE sweeps, taking the surprise element out of the strategy, which immigration enforcement officials typically try to avoid so as not to tip off targets.

A few officials told the Washington Post they believe the president is publicizing the "operation for political purposes as he begins his reelection bid."

Meanwhile, ICE funds are running low, which could mean the agency will need the cooperation of local officials to carry out the arrests, reports CNBC.

But, but, but: For the raids taking place in so-called sanctuary cities, local law enforcement may not cooperate with ICE detention requests or to share information.

  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she instructed local police to "terminate" ICE's access to the city's database relating to federal immigration and enforcement activities, according to NBC 5.

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