Nationwide raids to arrest thousands of undocumented family members are scheduled to begin Sunday, the New York Times reports. The operation, backed by President Trump, had been postponed, partly because of resistance among top officials. The raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement over several days, will include “collateral” deportations, the detention of immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets. When possible, family members arrested together will be held in family centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. Because of space limitations, some might end up staying in hotel rooms until travel documents can be prepared. ICE’s goal is to deport the families as quickly as possible.
Agents are targeting at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered deported, some as a result of failure to appear in court but who remain in the U.S. The operation is expected to take place in at least 10 major cities. The targeted families crossed the border recently: The Trump administration expedited their immigration proceedings last fall. In February, many of those immigrants were given notice to report to an ICE office and leave the U.S. The threat of deportation has rattled immigrant communities, prompted backlash from local politicians and police officials and caused division inside the Department of Homeland Security. The federal goal is to use the operation as a show of force to deter families from approaching the southwestern border. The operation might have limited success because word has already spread among immigrant communities about how to avoid arrest by refusing to open the door when an agent approaches one’s home. ICE agents are not legally allowed to enter a home forcibly.