A day after Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he was postponing nationwide raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport thousands of families, senior administration officials are furious, blaming acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan for leaking details of the raids to the press.
It was no secret that McAleenan opposed the massive operation, which was supposed to target 10 major U.S. cities on Sunday morning, and he had commented to The Washington Post that such raids could risk separating more children from their parents. He also warned that ICE did not have the resources to carry out such sweeping deportation raids.
Trumped tweeted again on Sunday that he wanted “to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to Asylum and Loopholes.” He added: “Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big Deportation begins!”
But the Washington Examiner reported late Saturday night that three current and two former senior administration officials accused McAleenan of leaking details to the Post to “sabotage” the raids.
Per the Examiner:
The sources said only a small number of people in the White House, ICE, and DHS were even aware of the plan’s details, including which cities, the date and time, and who would be targeted.
Two officials said the acting secretary, who was promoted internally in April, had fought for months during closed-door discussions with White House officials, the former acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello, and the new acting ICE Director Mark Morgan against the plan, which they noted was similar to one the Obama administration carried out in 2015.
One source told the newspaper they believed McAleenan leaked the details of the raid so he could become “the martyr” when expected public blowback occurred after the operations were carried out. Another accused McAleenan of pandering to liberals and “Never Trumpers” in Congress. A third source accused McAleenan of jeopardizing the safety of ICE agents.
“That’s law enforcement sensitive information. You just don’t reveal that,” one official told the Examiner. “It gets people hyped up. It gets the NGOs activated, and then anyone wearing a jacket with the ICE name on it is really chastised. Cities are coming out saying, ‘Here’s how you can protect yourself against it.’”
“The men and women of ICE don’t arrest innocent people, they don’t terrorize innocent immigrant communities,” Homan said. “They don’t arrest innocent people.”
He continued: “You’ve got the acting Secretary of Homeland Security resisting what ICE is trying to do. In the Washington Post story, and numerous media outlets, he does not support this operation. And I tell you what, if that’s his position then he’s on the wrong side of this issue. You don’t tell the men and women of ICE a day before they go out there and do this operation.
“…This leak—which I know where the leak came from, I think we all know where the leak came from, that story only benefits one person—put the officers at greater risk of harm.”
If McAleenan is the source of the leak, good on him. We need more officials in the Trump administration to start doing the right thing—such as refusing to deny children in concentration camps soap, showers, and toothbrushes, for starters.
And watch out: They will try to do these raids again, regardless of what the Democrats do. Here are some useful tips to remember if ICE agents show up at your door (here’s a link in Spanish):