Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began a nationwide sweep on July 13 targeting illegal aliens who have received final deportation orders issued by immigration judges, according to the agency's acting director, Matt Albence.
Early on July 13, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he received reports of raids taking place in the neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Harlem. The sweeps were "reportedly unsuccessful" de Blasio wrote on Twitter.
President Donald Trump had previously postponed the nationwide operation at the behest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Immigration officials previously said the action would target migrant family units whose cases were processed in an expedited fashion and resulted in a deportation order.
The vast majority of the migrants involved did not return to court for their scheduled hearings after being released into the United States. ICE sent out letters to 2,000 migrants in February, advising them to report to a local office to be removed from the country. Albence told Fox News on July 14 that only 3 percent of the addressees responded to the letter.
"At this point, we have no choice but to go out and execute those lawfully-issued removal orders from an immigration judge," Albence said.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a pre-emptive lawsuit on July 11 that aims to protect asylum seekers. Open-borders activists held demonstrations around the nation, including an event in Colorado in which attendees pulled down the American flag from a flagpole near an ICE facility in Aurora and replaced it with a Mexican flag. The protesters then defaced the American flag with graffiti and hoisted it upside down.
Administration officials have said that the coordinated move will target about 2,000 people with final deportation orders in major cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.