President Donald Trump said mass deportation roundups would begin “fairly soon” as U.S. migrant advocates vowed their communities would be “ready” when immigration officers come.
Trump, who has made a hardline immigration stance a key issue of his presidency and 2020 re-election bid, postponed the operation last month after the date was leaked, but on Monday he said it would take place after July 4.
“They’ll be starting fairly soon, but I don’t call them raids, we’re removing people, all of these people who have come in over the years illegally,” he told reporters at the White House on Friday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month said operations would target recently-arrived undocumented migrants in a bid to discourage a surge of Central American families at the southwest border.
ICE said in a statement its focus was arresting people with criminal histories but any immigrant found in violation of U.S. laws was subject to arrest.