Homeland Security is reportedly planning to detain 8,400 undocumented immigrants in the middle of September. “Operation Mega,” as the raids have been dubbed, would be “largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE,” according to an internal memo reviewed by NBC News.
The operation is scheduled to begin on Sept. 17 and will last for five days. Three immigration officials who confirmed “Operation Mega” said the raids were still being planned and could change — or be cancelled. But a cancellation seems unlikely given the agency’s so-called “deportation goal.” Also, it’s ICE. This is the agency’s wet dream.
From NBC News:
It is not unusual for ICE operations to target immigrants by the hundreds or even low thousands. The higher-than-usual target number may be partially driven by an effort to reach a deportation goal at the end of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, one of the officials said.
8,400 arrests would be unprecedented, unusual, and ostensibly impossible to pull off. NBC News noted that ICE rarely detains more than half of the operation’s objective because targets are typically difficult to locate and unwilling to answer agents who knock on their doors.
ICE’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Elzea, declined to confirm Operation Mega. She told NBC News that the agency “is not able to speculate about potential future targeted enforcement actions.”
Operation Mega will not target children, which I guess is kind of surprising given that President Trump just rescinded DACA — but those people won’t be eligible for deportation until six months from now. While the raids will allegedly only target criminals and gang members, one of the officials told NBC News that other undocumented immigrants could be detained as “collateral.”
Undocumented immigrants evacuating from Hurricane Irma’s path received Homeland Security’s sincerest assurances that the agency will not “conduct non-criminal immigration enforcement operations in the affected area.” For some reason, I don’t believe them.
Update (10:06 p.m ET): ICE released a statement on Thursday evening, shortly after NBC News reported Operation Mega, announcing that it had cancelled the plan because of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey’s recovery effort.
“Due to the current weather situation in Florida and other potentially impacted areas, along with the ongoing recovery in Texas, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had already reviewed all upcoming operations and has adjusted accordingly,” ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said in a statement to NBC News. “There is currently no coordinated nationwide operation planned at this time. The priority in the affected areas should remain focused on life-saving and life-sustaining activities.”