The Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed on July 10 that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is to commence with its delayed deportation of a pool of illegal immigrants who have court-ordered removals after receiving expedited hearings in the immigration courts.
“They’re absolutely going to happen,” said Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli of the planned deportations that are in addition to the 7,000 deportations averaged by ICE per month.
“There’s approximately a million people in this country with removal orders,” he said.
President Donald Trump announced the planned operation to enforce deportation orders in June in order to address the border-crisis and influx of illegal immigrants across the southern border—many of whom exploit the asylum laws in the United States for easy entry.
A few days later, however, he delayed the operation for two weeks, citing a request from the Democrats. He said the delay was to give Democrats and Republicans a chance to work together on a fix to the current immigration laws that lure people into the United States and then allow them to stay in the country indefinitely.
At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2019
Officials with Homeland Security had said otherwise, with reports revealing that Trump called off the operation due to a leak to the media which had threatened officer safety.
Response From Pelosi
On July 11, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the operation, saying that it would separate families. But the house minority whip replied that ICE was not targeting families.
“When the president said prior that these would go forward, remember first what these are,” said House Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy. “These are individuals who’ve crossed the border in recent years and either received a deportation order from a judge or failed to appear before court. This isn’t just picking something out.
“We are a rule of law country, and this is following the rule of law.”
Furthermore, he said that Pelosi, during the delay, could have worked with Republicans to approve a bill that would mend the legal loopholes at the border. If she had done that, McCarthy said he believes that Trump would have postponed the operation even further.
Cuccinelli told FOX News that he was surprised that ICE’s operation was receiving such extensive media, as the deportations are a standard and ongoing part of ICE’s portfolio. This is what ICE is supposed to do, he said.
He added, “It’s worth remembering that this massive influx of fraudulent asylum claims are swamping the people who truly fit that category; the people who are persecuted for political or religious reasons, or other reasons. Those people are being swamped, and they’re caught in a backlog caused by an enormous number of false claims.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.