Huffington Post reports, Trump: Raids Against Immigrant Families Are Back On After July 4th:
President Donald Trump announced Monday that the immigration raids he threatened to launch last month are back on.
“After July 4, a lot of people are going to be brought back out,” Trump said to reporters in the Oval Office, per The Hill.
Last month, Trump announced that some 2,000 undocumented immigrant families would be rounded up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in 10 cities. In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Trump on June 21 and implored him to hold off.
Trump said he agreed to suspend the raids in the hope that Democrats and Republicans could forge a plan to deal with illegal immigration.
However, most of the suspension period was scheduled during the July 4th congressional recess, when lawmakers weren’t even in Washington.
Administration officials told the media that the operation was actually delayed because of major concerns about officer safety. A number of police departments pointedly announced they would not aid ICE officers, and several mayors in targeted cities warned their immigrant communities in advance.
According to sources, ICE officials were also unprepared to deal with the logistics of detaining and deporting such a large number of immigrant families.
Before the delay, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had been poised to start attempting to round up about 2,000 people in 10 cities, including Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore, according to media reports.
The Daily Beast reports, ICE Told Agents ‘Happy Hunting!’ as They Prepped for Raid:
Days before federal immigration enforcement is once again set to begin an unprecedented series of nationwide raids targeting undocumented immigrant families, a trove of documents outlining the last time U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) planned a massive immigration and deportation operation provides a potential blueprint for the raids.
The documents, obtained by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Detention Watch Network and Mijente and provided to The Daily Beast, detail the tactics, operations, and targets of “Operation MEGA,” a weeklong series of nationwide raids designed to arrest a minimum of 8,400 people in September 2017, as well as the excited, even giddy anticipation of the raids by federal immigration enforcement officials.
“While the documents detail information about raids planned back in 2017, we noted the ‘rinse-and-repeat’ nature of ICE’s operations and what we can expect, as Trump reignites the threat of more raids to come after July 4th,” said Jacinta González, senior campaign organizer with Mijente. “The emphasis on arrest quotas further puts everyone in our community at risk.”
The documents reveal that immigration enforcement generated a “target list” for the raids with the help of personal information collected by private data companies like Palantir, including traffic tickets, license plates and utility bills. The materials also detailed how ICE hoped to increase the number of people ensnared in the operation by arresting so-called “collaterals”—suspected undocumented people who were not on law enforcement’s target list, but who were encountered during raids on those who were.
“The majority of the target locations associated with this operation will result in the arrest of more than one subject,” one document, titled “Operation MEGA Approved Plan,” states.
Immigration enforcement also prepared for the likelihood that the operation’s wide net could result in encountering non-targeted minor children. In that event, agents were instructed to treat the kids with “the utmost care and consideration.”
But not all children were set to be treated equally in the raids: According to internal planning documents, any “juvenile criminal aliens” were set to be transported to “contract detention facilities” for 72 hours—the legal limit for holding children in such facilities, although in practice many kids are held for much longer—before being transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
But, the memo cautioned, “as the availability of HHS beds in secure facilities may be limited, arrests of juveniles may need to be staggered to occur beyond the dates identified for this operation.”
This plan is consistent with other, smaller deportation operations, experts told The Daily Beast.
“In many instances, ICE will go to homes maybe looking for someone else, and if those individuals open the door, even if they don’t have a warrant, once the door is opened, they’ll just walk right in,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. “If they don’t find those individuals, but find others who are undocumented, it is very likely that those people will be picked up.”
According to post-operation statistics from other, smaller raids, the “collateral” effect during immigration sweeps nearly always leads to non-criminal immigrants making up the majority of people arrested during the raids. During Operation Cross Check VII in Spring 2017, a blueprint for Operation MEGA, only one in three people apprehended by ICE’s Philadelphia Field Office had a criminal background, and more than 60 percent were “collateral” arrests.
Suggestions that the operation be conducted with “utmost care and consideration” did not necessarily extend to maintaining a professional outlook on the raids in planning emails. Across multiple field offices, messages soliciting volunteers to take part in Operation MEGA were frequently jovial in tone, as were the responses.
“I’m guessing you’d prefer to be on the arrest team?” a supervisory deportation and detention officer at the Austin field office asked a volunteer.
“YOU KNOW IT!!!!!!” the agent responded.
Other immigration enforcement agencies have been heavily criticized in recent weeks after agents were caught posting jubilantly about their work, to the point of making light of migrant deaths.
For advocates in the immigration legal space, comments—as well as the high number of non-criminal, non-targeted arrests in past operations—is proof that the raids are more about sowing fear in immigrant communities for political purposes than about “significantly impact[ing] public safety [and] national security,” as internal documents outlining Operation MEGA claimed.
“These documents expose how quota-driven raids feeds the mass deportation and detention machine that treats people like numbers and targets, instead of people,” said Paromita Shah, an immigration attorney with Just Futures Law, which recruited more than 200 organizations and advocates to file FOIA to obtain the documents.
“The ongoing threat of mass raids for mass deportations has made it necessary for us to understand the inner workings of ICE’s mass raid operations,” said Silky Shah, executive director of the Detention Watch Network. “We’ve confirmed in government documents that ICE operations are politically motivated. Immigration raids are meant to terrorize communities and instill fear.”
The raids, described by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement’s National Fugitive Operations Program as “the largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE,” were called off after NBC News reported on the impending operation.
This time, however, advance public knowledge has been the defining feature of the impending immigration raids … Advocates in the immigration space have used the delay to prepare clients and their families for the possibility of raids, which some likened to natural disaster planning.
“Being able to advise our client, the child, on that potentiality, as well as to work with the family to ensure that there is a plan for the care and custody of the child, is imperative,” said Maria Odom, vice president for legal services at Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit that advocates for children in the immigration system. “The fear and the terror that we are asking in the communities is very real, so a lot of time is being spent reassuring these families that the community stands behind them under very difficult and scary circumstances.”
Congress—which has been out of session due to the Independence Day holiday—has not passed Trump’s proposed asylum reforms, and the president told reporters during a press conference in Osaka this past weekend that “unless we do something pretty miraculous,” the deportation operation is set to begin shortly after the holiday.
Without congressional action, as Trump tweeted June 22, “Deportations start!”
The Military Times reports that not even members of the U.S. military and their families are exempt. New Trump policies could end in deportations for some active duty troops:
Memos are circulating among Homeland Security and Defense Department personnel, as well as lawyers who handle service member immigration issues, announcing the end of a handful of policies that have allowed thousands of people to stay in the U.S. while they sort out their resident status.
“I wanted to confirm that this was all true, so I started calling a few people, and I got confirmation in various emails that this was all true,” Margaret Stock, an Alaska-based attorney, told Military Times in a Thursday phone interview.
Spokespeople for the White House, DHS and DoD declined to comment about the policies, which include deferred action and parole in place, temporary legal residency statuses granted to undocumented immigrants on a case-by-case basis.
Deferred action grants a renewable two-year legal residency, including the ability to work legally, as in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program that has made headlines in recent years.
Parole in place has been used specifically for service members’ families, granting renewable year-long legal residency and the ability to work legally.
Exceptions written into immigration policy have allowed both of those options for service members, their family members and troops, but the administration’s latest moves do away with them.
“It used to be, under the Bush administration and the Obama administration, that they would terminate removal proceedings for military members and their family members, and that’s changed under Trump,” Stock said, adding that service members and family members have been put into removal proceedings well before these memos were drafted.
Stock first got wind of the changes on Saturday, at an American Immigration Lawyers Association meeting. There are about four weeks until the new rules go into effect, she said, so those affected are scrambling to get their requests approved before late July.
The memos show that both deferred action and parole in place are being eliminated for service members, veterans and their families, “with the exception of the immediate relatives of United States citizens ― and those are people who don’t actually need deferred action, for the most part,” because they have another path to legal residency, Stock said.
That covers military veterans, current service members and family members ― including parents, spouses and children ― in both the active and reserve components, she said.
“And then they’re also going to eliminate parole in place for family members, veterans, reservists, National Guard and all active duty people,” she added.
The changes will also affect troops serving under the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program, which allows certain non-citizens to serve in the military and eventually apply for citizenship.
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DoD has also since stopped expedited citizenship approvals for service members, she added, because “the solution was we used to have was to just naturalize the troops and we wouldn’t have to worry about them getting deported.”
DoD has also forced discharges of MAVNI troops with foreign-born parents, Stock said.
“They’re immigrants in the military. They knew they had foreign parents when they enlisted them, but they now claim that’s some dangerous thing, to have foreign parents,” she said.
It all adds up to huge headaches for service members and their commands, Stock said.
“The reason we came up with all these policies was to stop this kind of stuff, because it was creating havoc in the ranks,” she said.
* * *
“Deportations don’t happen immediately in America. They’re a lengthy process,” she said, involving multiple hearings in backlogged courts. “I don’t expect there will be very many instantaneous removals.”
But it’s likely that Congress will be the next recourse. It’s not the first time these issues have bubbled up, but immigration officials worked with Congress years ago to put these protections in place for military members and their families.
“And the agency basically came to Congress and said, ‘We’ll fix this,’ ” Stock said. “And they did. They fixed it. They came up with these administrative policies and everything, so Congress never had to pass any laws to fix things.”
Rather than policy, programs like deferred action and parole in place could become statutory laws.
“The focus is now going to be on Congress to pass the laws, because the administration can’t be trusted to do things administratively,” she said.
This is how we honor those in our military service? Deporting them and/or their families?