President Trump said in a tweet late Monday that starting next week, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will remove “millions” of immigrants who have entered the United States illegally.
“They will be removed as fast as they come in,” Trump wrote.
The tweet was in apparent reference to an administration plan for ICE to round up large groups of migrants in a widespread move across major US cities.
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
An administration official says the effort will focus on people who have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges but remain at large in the country.
It is unusual for law enforcement agencies to announce raids before they take place. Some in Trump’s administration believe that decisive shows of force — like mass arrests — can serve as effective deterrents, sending a message to those considering making the journey to the U.S. that it’s not worth coming.
Trump has threatened a series of increasingly drastic actions as he tries to stem the flow of Central American migrants crossing the southern border, which has risen dramatically on his watch.
An ICE immigration sweep in December resulted in 58 arrests across New England.
Trump also praised Mexico in the Monday tweet and suggested that Guatemala was close to signing a “safe-third agreement,” which could legally prevent migrants who pass through that country from eventually applying for asylum in the United States. Mexico has refused to sign such a deal with the United States, which has only one active safe-third agreement, with Canada.
The president had previously threatened tariffs on Mexico over the movement of Central and South American migrants through the country on their way to the United States.