Editor’s Note: Late Saturday afternoon, President Trump announced that the planned ICE enforcement actions were going to be delayed by two weeks in order to give Congress the opportunity to reach a deal on immigration reform.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is set to conduct mass arrests and deportations of families with court-ordered removals in 10 cities beginning on Sunday. New Orleans is one of the cities on the list.
The news about the upcoming enforcement actions came, as many government announcements do, after President Trump said in a tweet on Monday night that ICE was preparing to deport “millions” of undocumented immigrants.
Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people…….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
The news has been met with outrage from city officials. “New Orleans is a welcoming city,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell stated, “where fear-mongering and intolerance has (sic) no place. All of our residents matter, all of our families help make us who we are – and the City of New Orleans will not turn our backs on any of them.”
“ICE has a role in this country, but I think ICE procedures should also be humane,” New Orleans City Council member Helena Moreno told Fox 8 reporter Katherine Mozzone. “This is likely going to lead to more children being separated from their parents, and so that’s what’s so alarming.”
According to CNN, around 2000 people will be targeted in the raids across 10 cities. In addition to New Orleans, other cities include Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. The families were notified via letter in February asking them to self-report to ICE offices by March in order to comply with deportation orders.
Once arrested, the families will be taken to ICE family residential detention centers, sparking concerns that this will lead to more family separations. An ICE official stated that if the children are U.S. citizens, the parents will be fitted with an ankle bracelet and allowed to stay with their child only long enough to get affairs in order.
President Trump has promised mass deportations since his 2016 campaign, however, those actions never materialized. In fact, according to official ICE data, there were significantly fewer people deported in 2018 (256,085) under President Trump compared to 2012 (over 400,000) under President Obama.
That is largely due to budget constraints. Last month, the White House submitted an emergency budget request asking Congress to approve $4.5 billion more “to address the immediate humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border of the United States,” which included $33.7 million for ICE transportation and removal.
Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor whose work has been featured in publications such as The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_