On June 22, President Trump announced that he would delay Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions to deport as many as 2,000 migrant families from the United States.
The delay was intended to allow for negotiations within Congress to amend asylum rules at the U.S.-Mexico border. Last week, the House passed a Senate bill to authorize emergency funding for border security. While the bill did not include funding that Trump wants to build the border wall, and it does not include changes to U.S.-Mexico asylum rules, Trump signed the bill into law on Monday.
The president also announced that ICE raids to remove illegal immigrants will proceed after the July 4 holiday. “After July 4, a lot of people are going to be brought back out,” he told reporters from the Oval Office.
ICE deportations are planned to take place primarily from immigrant communities in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Miami, and would typically take place before dawn.
The president defended the planned actions on Twitter, saying last month, “The people that ICE will apprehend have already been ordered to be deported. This means that they have run from the law and run from the courts. These are people that are supposed to go back to their home country. They broke the law by coming into the country, and now by staying.”
While the problem of illegal immigration has become an important issue for both parties heading into the 2020 election, a number of Democrats have been outspoken to oppose deportations. In addition, Democrats have resisted Republican efforts to increase funding for border security and have been slow to support the amendments to U.S. asylum laws that Trump is seeking.
Trump’s hard-line approach on illegal immigration is also meeting resistance at a local level. For example, Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, has threatened to withhold support from the Chicago Police Department for ICE raids, including denying federal officers access to databases related to immigration enforcement.
Lightfoot responded to President Trump’s announcements by declaring, “Chicago will always be a welcoming city and a champion for the rights of our immigrant and refugee communities, and I encourage any resident in need of legal aid to contact the National Immigrant Justice Center.”