- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2019

ICE officers will begin President Trump’s promised deportation sweep this weekend, targeting about 2,000 illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported but are defying those judges’ orders to remain in the country, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The operation is meant to target members of illegal immigrant families who have arrived in the border surge. They have gone through their court hearings, been ordered deported, have been contacted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about scheduling an orderly removal, and have ignored all of those entreaties.

But ICE officials have said any other illegal immigrants encountered at the same time are viable targets for arrest and deportation themselves.

SEE ALSO: Pelosi, Dems urge illegal immigrants to resist ‘brutal’ deportation raids

Democrats and immigrant-rights activists, moving to thwart the operation, took to Twitter to tell illegal immigrants not to open doors for ICE officers. The administrative warrants ICE officers generally use do not allow them to enter without permission.

“No matter who you are or what your status is, this is the United States of America - where ALL people have rights. Know yours,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The sweep had been scheduled to begin last month but President Trump said he put it off in order to give Congress a chance to make progress on legislation aimed at curtailing the surge of families jumping the border.

Democrats did not take up the invitation, and Mr. Trump said the deportations would be reinstated.

But some officials within Homeland Security have also been resistant to the deportations, fearing images of arrests of families, including young children, will further poison the immigration debate.

Indeed, media coverage is already skewing decidedly negative, with the unauthorized presence of the families played down, along with the fact that the migrants have been ordered deported and are defying those orders.

The debate over deporting this pool of migrants has raged inside the administration for months, and was part of the reason Mr. Trump shook up the Homeland Security Department earlier this year.

Officials have been struggling with how to contain the record number of families jumping the border.

Of the families that arrived in 2017, 95% of them are still here now, ICE says, pointing to that as an incentive drawing even more people this year.

Hoping to stem that, Homeland Security and the Justice Department last year created a pilot program to speed up the schedule of hearings for some families.

Yet 90% of the families ignored their hearings and were ordered deported in absentia.

ICE says it then sent notices to them in February and March asking them to check in and schedule an order of supervision so they could begin the deportation process. Most ignored that, too.

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