LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – President Trump confirmed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents would conduct raids on Sunday to deport immigrants with outstanding orders to leave the country.
Cities across the U.S. were bracing for the deportation raids this weekend, the second time in less than a month that Trump administration insiders have signaled roundups were imminent.
Those announced raids are causing a stir among immigration advocates in the Las Cruces area, where the NM CAFé immigration advocacy group spoke out against it.
“I think the fact that this administration is announcing this plan around raids is not only to continue the culture of dehumanization, but it’s also more about inciting fear,” said NM CAFé community organizer Allex Luna.
Trump said the raids will target criminals, but immigration advocates say the agency is increasingly targeting families who have recently entered the country. The president did not not give a specific time for when the ICE operations would take place on Sunday.
“There’s nothing to be secret about. Can I tell you what? 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,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday.
“If the word gets out, it gets out. Hundreds of people know about it. It’s a major operation. So if the word gets out, it gets out. 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 them in prison in the countries they came from. We’re focused on criminals as much as we can before we do anything else,” Trump said.
A law enforcement official briefed on the operation told ABC News agents would target only undocumented immigrants with final removal orders, who would be arrested and in most cases deported.
The same official said the operation will not arrest so-called “collaterals,” those people who happen to be with the targeted individual. The official described this operation as a consolidated effort of something ICE does all the time.
ICE has declined to comment on the timing of any raids
Trump brushed off criticism from mayors who are against the action, saying the criticism is only from sanctuary cities.