President Donald Trump announced last week on Twitter that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would begin rounding up undocumented immigrants for deportation, sparking panic and concern from immigrant rights advocates.
….long before they get to our Southern Border. Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement. The only ones who won’t do anything are the Democrats in Congress. They must vote to get rid of the loopholes, and fix asylum! If so, Border Crisis will end quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
CNN reported that raids were slated in 10 large cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco, and the goal was to detain people from up to 2,000 families.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked Trump to call off the raids, CNN also reported. Although Trump relented, he promised that unless Democrats give in to his demands, a “big Deportation” will begin in two weeks (adding an exclamation point, again on Twitter).
I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to Asylum and Loopholes. This will fix the Southern Border, together with the help that Mexico is now giving us. Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big Deportation begins!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2019
Meanwhile, a Trump official argued in court that migrant children don’t need soap, toothbrushes or beds in detention facilities. The Associated Press reported on lawyers touring a facility in Clint, Texas, where they interviewed 60 children and found rampant neglect of the 250 infants, children and teenagers, who don’t have their basic needs met, like access to adequate food and water.
A Trump official tried to argue that detained children don’t need soap, toothbrushes, or beds to be ‘safe and sanitary’ while in Border Patrol custody pic.twitter.com/sRFPZsDbwy
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 21, 2019
The U.S. House is set to consider an emergency border supplemental. Sponsor U.S. Rep. Nina Lowey (D-N.Y.) said the $4.5 billion will address the “humanitarian crisis at the border” and help migrants.
But on Saturday, four progressive congresswomen, including U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), said that ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should not get any funding. In a statement, Tlaib and U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) said that CBP was set to get $1.2 billion in the bill and ICE would receive $128 million.
“The Trump Administration would rather criminalize immigrants, separate families, and detain refugees than practice empathy and compassion. Recent reports of a massive deportation operation, targeting thousands of immigrant families in major cities across the country are further evidence that this President will stop at nothing in order to carry out his hateful agenda,” the members of Congress said.
“These radicalized, criminal agencies are destroying families and killing innocent children. It is absolutely unconscionable to even consider giving one more dollar to support this President’s deportation force that openly commits human rights abuses and refuses to be held accountable to the American people.
The four members of Congress said that’s why they cannot “in good conscience” support the bill.
“If these blatant human rights abuses were taking place in any other country, the United States government would rightfully demand transparency, accountability and call for international organizations to investigate abuses and assist in the safe, swift delivery of humanitarian aid. We cannot turn our backs on the abuses taking place on our own soil, executed by our own government,” they said.
Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Pressley ended by calling to “abolish ICE,” investing in “community-based alternatives to detention,” and ending the system of mass detention and deportation of immigrants.