The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied rumors that it is preparing for the largest immigration raid since its creation. The agency said that it remains focused on life-sustaining and life-saving activities after the devastation brought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida.
Federal officials said that a five-day operation that would have targeted 8,400 illegal immigrants in multiple states was postponed due to the hurricanes. The nationwide operation, also known as “Operation MEGA,” was initially scheduled for Sept. 17.
Officials said MEGA was designed to arrest illegals that have committed crimes or have ties to violent gangs. On Thursday, ICE announced that they had to review and adjust “all upcoming operations” following the two natural disasters. Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Florida by the end of the week.
An official underlined that the agency usually doesn’t comment on immigration raids before they are completed, but its latest plan had to change due to a “variety of factors.”
ICE to Resume “Routine Operations” in the Non-Affected States
All operations were “adjusted accordingly” following Hurricane Harvey devastation in Texas and the inclement weather in Florida, one ICE agent said. The agency added that its operatives would continue to target and capture “criminal aliens” along with other people that have infringed federal immigration laws in states not affected by the hurricanes. One official said that these actions are part of “routine operations.”
ICE announced this summer that the Trump administration had approved a plan to hire 10,000 new officers as the current personnel lacked the resources to arrest all the illegals protected by “sanctuary cities.”
One ICE worker told NBC News that operation MEGA was primarily focused on illegals who have committed crimes, but other individuals could be captured and deported as “collaterals.”
ICE’s plan is tied to President Trump’s decision to terminate the Obama-era deportation relief program for immigrants brought to the U.S. as kids, aka DACA. ICE said that MEGA would not target children.
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