In the first major deportation sweep of the new administration, at least 160 illegal immigrants were taken into custody by federal officials in raids targeting Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and southern Texas.
In the wake of public criticism over the deportations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement saying that the raids were just business as usual.
“The focus was no different than the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis,” the agency said Friday afternoon.
Irritated by the criticism, President Trump said on Twitter that no one should be surprised to see him make good on his vow to deport illegal immigrants.
“The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise,” he wrote Sunday. “Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”
The raids were preceded by a controversial apprehension earlier in the week that sparked widespread protests among Hispanic activists. ICE detained and deported Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a 35-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico whose children are American-born citizens. Garcia de Rayos had been arrested in 2008 for using a fraudulent Social Security number, but the Obama administration never enforced its deportation order against her. On Wednesday night, the Trump administration patched that hole and sent her back to her hometown.
From Mother Jones:
García de Rayos’ deportation sent shock waves through the immigrant rights community and dominated Spanish-language media on Thursday. Ever since the 2008 raid, she had checked in annually with ICE to review her case—brief meetings that always resulted in her walking free, even though she had been convicted of a felony and later had a deportation order against her. This partly reflected the Obama administration’s emphasis on deporting serious criminal offenders.
While we can debate whether this woman was a threat to public safety, President Trump’s ICE officials have every right to enforce deportation orders that Obama chose to ignore. That’s called…THE LAW. That’s called…DOING YOUR JOB. As Trump said in a campaign speech, no illegal immigrant will be safe from deportation under his administration, and these raids show that he wasn’t kidding around.
It doesn’t take a huge stretch of imagination to say that Donald Trump would not be president today were it not for his hardline stance on illegal immigration. Before anything else, this was the issue that set him apart from the crowded Republican field. This was among the issues that inspired millions of voters – many of whom had never before participated in a GOP primary election – to make him the nominee.
All the activist groups in America can’t stop him from enforcing the law.
It says a lot about the state of this country today that they would even try.