President Donald Trump is set to officially kick off his reelection campaign at a rally in Florida Tuesday. But there are signs he’s already kicked it off on Twitter, reviving a theme from 2016. He repeated a promise to order Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to begin deporting “millions” of undocumented immigrants from the U.S., starting next week.
Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people…….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
Nick Miroff covers immigration enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security for The Washington Post. He says the president appears to be referring to a long-planned ICE operation aimed at expediting the deportation of 7,000-10,000 people who sought asylum in the U.S., but whose requests were denied. Miroff says deportation orders have already been obtained for these individuals.
“Now the ICE component comes in,” Miroff says. “The plan has been under preparation for several months, but what’s really extraordinary about this is that the president would say that it’s happening next week.”
Miroff says the president’s tweet caught ICE officials by surprise, since the operation has been secret for many months.
With levels of arrests at the border reaching historic highs, Miroff says the president is looking for a way to reaffirm his commitment to reducing immigration at the southern border.
“That is the context,” he says. “You have a president who campaigned to build the wall and crack down on illegal immigration, and who said right after he won the presidency that he was going to deport 2 million to 3 million immigrants from the country.”
The president hasn’t been able to keep those promises to his supporters.
“This plan that has been in the works for awhile is, in part, the administration’s effort to try and do something that’s highly visible, that’s spectacular, that sends the kind of deterrent message they’ve been seeking,” Miroff says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.