Robert Gehl reports the Trump Administration has cancelled nationwide roundups of as many as 8,400 illegal immigrants – scheduled for later this month – citing Hurricane Irma and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
It was supposed to be the “largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE,” the acronym for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, but it was called off due to bad weather.
“While we generally do not comment on future potential law enforcement actions, operational plans are subject to change based on a variety of factors,” ICE spokesman Sarah Rodriguez said in a statement. “Due to the current weather situation in Florida and other potentially impacted areas, along with the ongoing recovery in Texas, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had already reviewed all upcoming operations and has adjusted accordingly. There is currently no coordinated nationwide operation planned at this time. The priority in the affected areas should remain focused on life-saving and life-sustaining activities.”
There is also speculation that the roundup – intended to be unannounced – was cancelled after NBC News got wind of it and publicized the scheduled mass deportation event.
The raids were initially scheduled to start Sept. 17 and last five days. It was called “Operation Mega,” indicating the massive scope of the operation.
It’s not unusual for Immigration agents to target illegal aliens by the hundreds – or sometimes the thousands – but this number, 8,400, was likely driven by a deportation goal set by the Trump Administration for Sept. 30, one official said.
ICE had been planning the operation internally since mid-August and had instructed officers in the field to target adults deemed to be gang members or perpetrators of serious crimes, said one of the officials. Other undocumented immigrants not suspected of crimes may have been swept up in the raids as “collateral,” the official said.
Immigration agents often only arrest one-quarter to one-half of the target population due to the difficulty of locating individuals and getting them to open their doors to agents.
“Operation Mega” would not have targeted juveniles and since DACA recipients are not at risk of deportation until March 5, 2018, they also were not the target of the deportation.
Earlier this week, Homeland Security spokesman Dave Lapan said that the Trump Administration would stop targeting illegal immigrants seeking relief from Hurricane – similar to the protocol agents in Texas followed after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the area.
Trump’s decision to cancel the mass roundup comes on the heels of his sort-of cancellation of Barack Obama’s DACA program. He said the program would be shelved in six months, but told Congress they must act to stop mass deportations of up to 800,000 dreamers.
Trump then publicly said – and tweeted that if Congress didn’t act in that time, he reserved the right to take unilateral action.
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
In a meeting earlier this week with Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Trump agreed to sign off on Democrats’ three-month extension of the debt limit. Republicans were livid that Trump gave in to the Democrats’ demands. During the meeting, House Minority Leader Pelosi asked Trump to tweet that DACA recipients would not be deported. He instantly did:
For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2017
“For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!” he wrote.
What do you think? Should the nationwide raids have been called off because of the recent hurricanes? Is Trump undermining his position by “caving” to Democrats on the debt limit, or is he merely a “deal maker?” Sound off below!