The photos were taken at federal detention centers in the Rio Grande Valley the week of June 10, according to an inspector general’s report.
DHS via Storyful
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin a vast roundup of undocumented immigrants in at least 10 major cities this weekend, the The New York Times reported Thursday.
The Times, citing two current and one former Homeland Security official it did not name, said the raids will begin Sunday and target more than 2,000 immigrants facing deportation orders who remain in the country illegally. The sources told the Times that ICE planned to keep family members together at family detention facilities whenever possible.
The report comes as no surprise: Less than a week ago President Donald Trump promised that mass deportation roundups would begin soon
“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,” Trump said Friday.
Trump said two weeks ago that he would delay nationwide raids for two weeks to give Congress time to develop an immigration plan. Trump’s hard line on immigration has been a recurring theme in his presidency and is expected to take center stage in his 2020 reelection bid.
ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke, in a statement emailed Thursday to USA TODAY, would neither confirm nor deny the raid plan.
“Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations,” Bourke said.
ICE has consistently maintained that its focus is on people with criminal records but that anyone found to be in the U.S. illegally would face detainment.
“Ninety percent of aliens arrested by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations component in FY2018 had either a criminal conviction, pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive or illegally reentered the country after previously being removed,” Bourke said.
ICE officials previously have said they plan to target new arrivals in an effort to stem a surge of Central American families arriving through Mexico. That surge showed some decline in June, when total border arrests fell 29% according to numbers released by Customs and Border Protection. But the decline came after May totals — more than 140,000 arrests — that were the highest since 2006.
The Trump administration credits its escalating series of threats and new policies for the slowdown, although border crossing traditionally declines in the heat of summer.
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A government report released last week found that migrants were being held in overcrowded conditions described as “a ticking time bomb.” In one room at Customs and Border Protection’s Fort Brown station near the U.S-Mexico border in Texas, 51 women were in a cell with a capacity for 40 juveniles, according to the report from the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office. In another cell, 71 men were in a cell designated for 41, the report said.
Trump was dismissive of the report, saying the facilities he visited were clean and well run.
“I think they do a great job with those facilities,” Trump said.
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