U.S. (CBS) — Federal agents on Sunday will begin a nationwide effort to arrest immigrants who have been issued final deportation orders. The raids will be conducted in ten major cities and will focus mainly on Central American families that crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.
President Trump said the crackdown is meant to remove criminals from the country. But the leaders in some of the targeted cities – including New York City, Los Angeles County, and San Francisco – are pushing back against the effort.
The sweep is similar in scope to those carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since 2003. But this one is different, because it’s part of Mr. Trump’s plan to eventually deport millions of people who came to the country illegally.
“They’re going to take people out, and they’re going to bring them back to their countries,” Mr. Trump said. “Or, they’re gonna take criminals out and 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,” he added.
Administration officials said the operation is targeting about 2,000 people, and in many cases, entire families. Previous crackdowns of the same size have resulted in an arrest rate of about 10%.
But as immigration enforcement has become a central focus of the Trump administration, communities with large immigrant populations are pushing back. New York City mayor and presidential candidate Bill de Blasio has said the city will not help ICE in making arrests, and San Francisco mayor London Breed reminded residents of her city of their rights.
“Everyone is guaranteed certain rights under the Constitution,” Breed said, “whether they are in this country illegally or not.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom did the same in a video posted to Twitter. “When we talk about knowing your rights, no abras la puerta,” Newsom said. “Without a warrant, you don’t have to open the door.”
Some local law enforcement officers said the raids could impact more than just illegal immigrants and their families.
“The fear alone – there’s been studies that have shown that that fear goes all the way to U.S. citizens, the presence of ICE,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “So the impact is very very damaging.”
Friday night, dozens of protests were held nationwide against both the proposed raids and the conditions at facilities where immigrants are being detained. In Washington, hundreds gathered outside the White House, including undocumented immigrant Gerson Quinteros.
“I feel, like, scared every day. I don’t know what to do, but I know with my community I’m in strength…” said Quinteros. “I feel safe with my community. I feel protected by my community.”
Washington D.C. has also said that it won’t help ICE make arrests. And two leading hotel chains, Marriott and Choice – which owns Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, and Econo Lodge, among others – have said they don’t want ICE to use their hotels to hold any detainees.