The Trump administration didn’t want to release raid dates earlier in the week. Some say their political value is being prioritized over practicality.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is expected to initiate a massive series of raids on Sunday.
The operation, suggests CNN and other sources, has become progressively politicized.
While President Trump promised raids at the end of June, the commander-in-chief opted to postpone the round-ups. Setting a two-week deadline for Congress to “close Loopholes” and solve the “crisis” along the “Southern Border,” the commander-in-chief said ICE would act some time after the 4th of July.
Acting ICE Director Mark Morgan said the raids had been delayed, at least in part, to protect operational secrecy and save the lives of immigration officials. CNN notes that Morgan appears to have blamed the media for the initial set-back.
“It’s just egregious, and it puts the lives of the officers and agents at risk,” Morgan told Fox News last month. “The men and women I’ve served with are true American heroes. And so what the President did—he recognized that, and so he postponed them […] to protect them.”
As late as Wednesday, government sources indicated they wouldn’t divulge the date of any sweeping enforcement actions.
But the date—publicized from Thursday night through Friday morning—now appears set as Sunday.
John Sandweg, who served as ICE’s acting director under former President Barack Obama, speculated that politics could be to blame for the continuous leaks.
“You never want the target to know you’re coming,” Sandweg said. “You want that element of surprise because it keeps you safe.
“From an effective perspective, that’s why you don’t announce these things. Somebody has determined that the political value of talking about this publicly exceeds the operational value of surprise.”
According to The New York Times, the raids will take place over several days, beginning Sunday. Federal agents will bear down on at least ten cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.
However, the list is liable to change. New Orleans—flooded, battered and now threatened by Hurricane Barry—confirmed over Twitter that “immigration enforcement will be temporarily suspended through the weekend.”
Other cities, predominately headed by Democrats, have vowed not to cooperate with ICE. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, for instance, has prohibited the city’s police department from providing resources or assistance to immigration authorities.
Troubling, the round-ups will include “collateral” arrests and deportations, meaning that migrants without warrants could still be taken into custody if they’re happened upon by ICE.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been highly critical of the impending operation and has repeatedly petitioned President Trump to cancel the plan.
“This brutal action will terrorize children and tear families apart,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi added that the president sent Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham to her office to discuss long-term solutions for immigration reform.
“In terms of comprehensive immigration, I think there’s real need for it,” Pelosi said. “My understanding is that people don’t even like that term anymore, so we’re talking about dream promise [sic] and beyond, where we go with it, and I think that we have to do. It’s not something that we can do in two weeks.”