Monday, June 17, 2024

Administration’s official says ICE is ready carry out deportations

The Trump administration’s top official at USCIS said immigration authorities are ready to identify, detain and eventually deport approximately one million undocumented immigrants with pending removal orders.

“They’re ready to just perform their mission, which is to go and find and detain and then deport the approximately one million people who have final removal orders,” Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli said on “Face the Nation” yesterday, referring to ICE, the Department of Homeland Security branch charged with removal operations.

Cuccinelli, an immigration hardliner who took the helm of the agency last month, said it is within ICE’s discretion to determine who among those with final orders of deportation will be targeted in operations, suggesting the full pool of approximately one million immigrants might not face deportation after all.

The USCIS chief’s assertions suggest that ICE is ready to conduct the series of roundups President Trump announced and later postponed in June. Two weeks ago, the president said he would delay a wave of roundups of undocumented families but threatened to order mass deportations unless Democrats agreed to revamp the nation’s asylum laws within two weeks.

Efforts to reform the U.S. immigration system have failed under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and there is currently no legislation with enough bipartisan support to pass in both chambers. On Friday, the president said the roundups would be “starting fairly soon.”

Under the operation, which ICE said would send a “powerful message” of deterrence to would-be migrants in Central America considering journeying towards the U.S.-Mexico border. Any large-scale deportation blitz would also likely spark a massive public outcry and affect not only undocumented immigrants with pending removal orders, but millions of mixed-status families with members who are U.S. citizens.