Trump Administration Plans To Arrest More Than 2,000 Illegal Immigrants

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced his agency expects to arrest more than 2,000 illegal immigrants on Sunday, the first day of a massive operation by the Trump administration.

ICE Acting Director Mark Morgan told ABC Friday that his agency is preparing to arrest over 2,040 undocumented family members who have ignored deportation orders. While he said the deportation raids will not reach in the “millions” as President Donald Trump had first suggested, Morgan said the raids will serve to protect the “integrity” of the U.S. immigration system and enforcing the rule of law.

“This is not about fear,” Morgan told ABC. “No one is instilling fear in anyone. This is about the rule of law and maintaining the integrity of the system.”

“Right now, the greatest pull factors for families to come here is they know that once they arrive in the U.S., they remain here untouched. We have to change that,” he continued.

A senior immigration official told CNN that the Sunday raid will target 10 cities across the U.S. While it’s not entirely clear which cities ICE will target, the Executive Office for Immigration Review announced in 2018 that it began tracking family cases filed by the Department of Homeland Security in Baltimore, Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans and San Francisco.

Details of the Sunday raid follow Trump’s announcement on Monday that his administration would soon begin deporting “millions” of individuals who entered the country illegally.

Border Patrol agent Frank Pino (L) is pictured with two migrants who presented themselves to the Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas on May 16, 2019. - "It's heart breaking, you know, I'm a father. I have two children. These guys out here, they are here with their kids," Pino said, "I kind of put myself in their position, and you know, would I do the same thing they're doing? Escaping violence or fleeing their countries, it's a hard decision, but I took an oath as a Border Patrol agent, my main priority is protecting this border, protecting this fence, and making sure that we identify for the security of my community where I live in El Paso, Texas. That's important to me." About 1,100 migrants from Central America and other countries are crossing into the El Paso border sector each day. Pino, public information officer for the Border Patrol, says that Border Patrol resources and personel are being stretched by the ongoing migrant crisis, and that the real targets of the Border Patrol are slipping through the cracks. (Photo by Paul Ratje / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images)

Border Patrol agent Frank Pino (L) is pictured with two migrants who presented themselves to the Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas on May 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul Ratje / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images)

In a call with reporters a day after the president’s announcement, Morgan said his agency had “no other choice,” because a massive number of foreign nationals are simply ignoring court orders to leave the country.

“At this point right now … we have really no other choice but to use our enforcement statutory authority to identify where these individuals are and remove them. President Trump’s executive order has made it clear: No class of individual is exempt from our federal immigration statutes,” the ICE chief said Wednesday. (RELATED: More Than 100,000 Illegal Migrants Have Escaped Border Patrol Agents In 2019, Agency Chief Says)

“These individuals that are here, and they’ve received a final order of removal, I hope they’ll do what we tried to get them to do previously: Contact their local ICE office — bring their family together, contact their local ICE office and work with us to send them back to their home country,” Morgan continued on Wednesday. “I don’t want to send ICE agents to their work place. I don’t want to send ICE agents to their home.”

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