Trump: ICE Deportations Start on Sunday, Will Focus on Criminals

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
July 12, 2019 Updated: July 13, 2019

President Donald Trump confirmed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportations will begin on July 14 and will focus on removing criminals, despite the ongoing opposition against the enforcement operation.

“There’s nothing to be secret about. ICE is law enforcement. They’re great patriots. They have a tough job. Nothing to be secret about. If the word gets out, it gets out. Because hundreds of people know about it. It’s a major operation,” Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One on July 12.

“It starts on Sunday, and they’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries. Or they’re going to take criminals out, put them in prison, or put in them in prison in the countries they came from. We’re focused on criminals as much as we can before we do anything else.”

Epoch Times Photo
President Donald Trump stands with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who announced his resignation, while talking to the media at the White House in Washington on July 12, 2019. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The operation, which will target at least 2,000 illegal immigrants, will affect ten major cities across the nation, two current and one former homeland security officials told the New York Times in an article published on July 11.

The plan to enforce the law on illegal immigrants with final orders of removal, including families whose immigration cases had been fast-tracked by a judge, was announced by Trump in late June.

The president has faced criticism for his decision to enforce immigration law against illegal immigrants who have ignored their court orders. Many of his opponents have urged him to call off the operation, saying that it would “tear families apart.”

“Families belong together. Every person in America has rights,” Pelosi said at a press conference on July 11. “These families are hard-working members of our communities and our country. This brutal action will terrorize children and tear families apart.”

She also gave advice to illegal immigrants on how they could avoid arrest.

“An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a deportation warrant. If that is the only document ICE brings to a home raid, agents do not have the legal right to enter a home,” she said.

“If ICE agents don’t have a warrant signed by a judge, a person may refuse to open the door and let them in. An administrative order of removal from ICE or immigration authorities is simply not enough. Families belong together; everyone in our country has rights. Many of these families are mixed-status families.”

Like Pelosi, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) gave similar advice to illegal immigrants on a Twitter post.

“ICE will launch raids across 10 major cities this SUNDAY. Check your neighbors & know your rights. Remember: no one can enter your home without a *judicial warrant.* Sometimes ICE will try to show other papers to get in your house. Judicial warrants are from a court,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

Trump has again defended the operation on July 12 saying that he has an obligation to enforce laws on people who have broken them.

“So people come into our country illegally. We’re taking them out legally. It’s very simple. It’s not something I like doing, but people have come into our country illegally,” he said. “We’re focused on criminals. We’re focused on—if you look at MS-13—but when people come into our country, we take those people out and we take them out very legally. They all have papers. And it’s a process. And I have an obligation to do it. They came in illegally; they go out legally.”

“We have millions of people standing in line waiting to become citizens of this country. They’ve taken tests. They’ve studied. They’ve learned English. They’ve done so much. It’s—they’ve been waiting seven, eight, nine years. We have some waiting 10 years to come in.  It’s not fair that somebody walks across the line and now they’ve become citizens of the United States,” Trump said.

The plan to deport illegal immigrants was initially scheduled to begin June 23, but was postponed after details of the operation were leaked to the media causing concerns about the safety of ICE agents.

The Pew Research Center recently found that there were about 10.5 million illegal immigrants present in the United States in 2017.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.