Trump The Merciful Delays Immigration Goon Squads
Donald Trump's immigration goon squads were all set to start mass arrests and deportations of families in multiple cities Sunday, but before the raids started, he tweeted Saturday that he'd decided to delay the operation by two weeks -- to allow Democrats a chance to join Republicans in trashing US asylum law. Trump took a phone call Friday evening from Nancy Pelosi urging him to hold off on the raids, although it's also possible that internal disagreements about the operation at the Department of Homeland Security may have been part of the reason for the delay, too. In the meantime, Trump gets to terrify undocumented families some more and rant about deporting "millions," although the planned operation was actually targeted only at a couple thousand people who have already received deportation orders.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been gearing up to start raids in 10 US cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Baltimore, to show how tough America is, and never mind that the sweeps would certainly have led to more family separations, as ICE scooped up at least some undocumented parents of children born in the US. The news also comes while the media are reporting filthy, inhuman conditions at the border camps where newly arrested immigrants, including babies, are being packed in, leading to plenty of awkward questions about why the government suddenly wants to arrest more people in the interior of the country? (Hint: President Eichmann just announced his reelection bid.)
The Great Deporter announced the delay of the operation Saturday by Twitter, as if that were normal, then followed up with more bluster Sunday.
Let's remind you here that by "loopholes," Trump means any aspects of asylum and immigration law that allow asylum seekers to have due process, hearings before judges, and for that matter, the right to have asylum claims considered at all.
The New York Times reports the delay may have more to do with Trump's hopes of getting more money for border detention than any desire to seem reasonable, although if his followers start calling him Trump The Merciful, he might not mind.
The president's abrupt reversal on Saturday came as lawmakers were considering a measure to send $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid to the border, money the Trump administration has said is desperately needed to handle a huge influx of migrants.
Some Democrats, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, had threatened to withhold their support for the funding package when it comes to a vote in the House this upcoming week, in protest of Mr. Trump's immigration policies. The specter of high-profile immigration raids had risked imperiling its chances of passage.
The Senate has reached a bipartisan deal on a similar measure, though Democrats have conditioned their support on assurances that none of the money would go toward Mr. Trump's threatened raids.
It's also possible the delay indicates the Department of Homeland Security wasn't quite ready to start mass arrests and deportations just now -- particularly after Trump's tweet last week tipped off migrants who might have been targeted, leading many to go underground. The Washington Post reports today that pro-immigrant groups are still ramping up efforts to educate people about their rights, delay or no, because constant fear is the Trump administration's "strategy." As the Times notes, DHS officials have "fiercely debated" whether the goon squad roundup is a good idea at all, although it must be a great idea since Stephen Miller wants it.
Officials within the agency have been hesitant about the effort because of limited space in family detention facilities and the bad optics of separating undocumented parents from their children [...]
One homeland security official said the operation could lead to "collateral deportations," in which agents looking for certain individuals detain other undocumented immigrants who happened to be present nearby.
In a meeting with White House officials on Friday, Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, pushed back against the planned raids, arguing that they would lead to family separations. He said he could achieve similar numbers over a measured deportation plan spanning four weeks.
Big surprise: Looks like McAleenan is already making enemies after being chosen to replace Kirstjen Nielsen, who was herself shitcanned for generally not being fascist enough, and specifically for pointing out the mass arrests would be logistically dicey. Former acting ICE director Thomas Homan took to Fox News over the weekend to accuse McAleenan of disloyalty to the Great Man, saying the acting DHS secretary is as big a threat to ethnic purity as those filthy mayors of "Sanctuary Cities."
"These mayors aren't the only ones resisting ICE," said Mr. Homan, whom Mr. Trump has chosen as border czar. (Mr. Homan has not yet accepted the position.) "You've got the acting secretary of homeland security resisting what ICE is trying to do."
Get ready for a lot more Sturm und Dreck from Trump as his two-week delay crashes into the budget fight and the Democratic debates this week. The chances that Dems will suddenly decide to accept gutting the asylum laws are about equal to the chances of their going along with repealing Obamacare. Don't be surprised if Congress votes to fund cleaning up the horrible camps at the border, plus funding more immigration judges to hear asylum cases, and then Trump calls that a huge victory -- or vetoes it because he wanted authority for mass executions of migrants.
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