Fri, Jul 12, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Mass US roundups ‘to start Sunday’

MONEY TALKS:The number of children in detention fell to 200 as of Wednesday, down from 2,500 in May, as a US$4.5bn emergency budget starts to take effect


A US Border Patrol vehicle guards a border fence in Sunland Park, New Mexico, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Roundups of undocumented immigrant families are to start on Sunday in 10 US cities, fulfilling a hardline immigration stance from US President Donald Trump that is to be a key issue in his re-election bid next year, the New York Times reported.

The raids are to be conducted by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents over a number of days, the Times reported, citing unnamed sources, including two current and one former US Department of Homeland Security officials.

Reuters could not independently confirm the pending action.

The officials said that ICE agents were targeting at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered deported, but remain in the country illegally.

Trump has raised the prospect of detaining “millions” of people, while US Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said about a million people had exhausted their legal appeals and were eligible for deportation.

Trump last month postponed the operation after the date was leaked, but last week said it would take place after Thursday last week.

Last month, ICE officials said that operations would target recently arrived undocumented migrants in a bid to discourage a surge of Central American families.

ICE in a previous statement said its focus was arresting people with criminal histories, but any immigrant found to have breached US laws was subject to arrest.

The threatened raids come after apprehensions of migrants on the southwest border hit a 13-year high in May before easing last month as Mexico increased immigration enforcement.

Meanwhile, US border officers were detaining about 200 unaccompanied children along the southern border on Wednesday, down from more than 2,500 in May, thanks to congressional funding increases, a senior border agency official said.

From late May to early last month, border authorities held about 2,500 to 2,700 children who were detained after crossing the border by themselves or who were separated from adults who were not their parents, the official told reporters on a conference call on condition of anonymity.

Almost all unaccompanied children picked up by border officers are being turned over to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours of apprehension, the official said.

“To see these numbers currently at about 200 is very positive. That’s a huge difference since HHS has received their funding,” the official said.

The US Congress last month approved a US$4.5 billion emergency supplemental funding bill aimed at improving conditions at the border, including US$2.88 billion for the HHS to provide shelter and care for unaccompanied children.

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