President Trump says he is still intent on beginning a new round of deportations for immigrant families living in the U.S. illegally who are defying judges’ orders, vowing it will begin “some time after July 4.”
Mr. Trump had imposed a two-week delay on the deportations last weekend, in response to a request from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The president said lawmakers should use the two weeks to try to strike a deal on fixing the lax U.S. policies that entice immigrants to make the journey and live illegally in the U.S.
But with no progress, Mr. Trump said he’s ready to give the greenlight to the deportations.
“We will be removing large numbers of people,” he said at a press conference in Japan. “Some time after July 4.”
At issue are hundreds of thousands of immigrants who’ve streamed into the U.S. illegally this year with impunity — most of them sneaking across the border then flagging down Border Patrol agents and demanding to be taken care of.
They are processed and quickly released, on the often-vain hope that they will show up for court hearings and eventually for deportations.
Judging by similar past cases, few will actually qualify for asylum, but others will refuse to go even when ordered deported. That’s the population Mr. Trump and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are targeting.
The main focus is on thousands of migrants who were part of a pilot program months ago to speed up their cases. Some 90% didn’t show for their hearings and were ordered removed in absentia.
ICE then contacted them and offered to arrange an orderly departure, but most ignored those requests too, former acting ICE Chief Mark Morgan told reporters.
Until the recent announcement of deportations, ICE hadn’t generally been deporting families who were breaking the law. Of the immigrant families that arrived in 2017 illegally, 95% are still in the U.S., ICE says.