With Hurricane Looming, US Immigration Officials Cancel Planned Raids
U.S. immigration officials say the government is canceling nationwide immigration enforcement actions in the face of one devastating hurricane in Texas and a storm expected to pummel Florida over the weekend.
NBC reported Thursday night about planned enforcement actions across the United States targeting 8,400 undocumented immigrants in a series of September raids described as “the largest operation of its kind in the history of [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement].”
After the report was published, however, ICE said that with the approach of Hurricane Irma and the widespread flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas in recent weeks, it “reviewed all upcoming operations and has adjusted accordingly.”
“There is currently no coordinated nationwide operation planned at this time. The priority in the affected areas should remain focused on lifesaving and life-sustaining activities,” according to the statement.
NBC originally reported that “Operation Mega” was to begin September 17 and last for five days.
Since January, the Trump administration has changed the country’s immigration and deportation priorities. While immigration agents still say they prioritize the removal of undocumented immigrants with criminal records, such as those with felony arrests, over those with no criminal records, they now sweep up all undocumented immigrants they encounter during enforcement actions.
This change from the era of President Barack Obama makes all undocumented immigrants susceptible to detention and deportation.
Earlier this week, federal officials announced the end of another Obama-era protection, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which temporarily shielded from deportation nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and allowed them to work legally.
President Donald Trump said DACA recipients would not be a priority for deportation, but the administration stopped short of making that point part of a policy.