Thursday, June 20, 2024

White House had secret plan to arrest and deport thousands of migrant families

Department of Homeland Security officials considered a secret White House plan to arrest thousands of undocumented migrant parents and children in coordinated raids across the U.S., but the idea was tabled due to a lack of resources, reported The Washington Post and The Associated Press.

The massive operation was intended to deter people from crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico, according to the Post and AP, which cited several unnamed current and former Homeland Security officials. But the proposal was reportedly challenged by then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and then-Immigration and Customs Enforcement head Ron Vitiello, who worried not about the ethical implications of such a scenario but about the resources needed to carry it out effectively.

The two were ousted from their positions by President Trump weeks later, in part because of their objections to the proposal, reported the Post. The number of people illegally crossing the southern border has sharply risen in the past few months; U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended over 109,000 people at the border in April.

The White House’s plan, which is reportedly still under consideration, was to arrest parents and children in 10 U.S. cities with large immigrant communities such as New York City and Los Angeles. The targeted individuals would already be subject to final deportation orders by an immigration judge.

“There was concern that it was being hastily put together, would be ineffective and might actually backfire by misdirecting resources away from critical border emergency response operations,” a DHS official told the Post. Nielsen and Vitiello also reportedly worried the raids would spark another round of intense public outrage over the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.