Major cities across the U.S. on Thursday were bracing for sweeping deportation raids this weekend, the second time in less than a month that Trump administration insiders have signaled roundups were imminent.
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The raids were intended as a massive show of force against undocumented immigrants by President Donald Trump, who last month tipped his hand when he vowed on Twitter that “millions” would be deported.
While administration officials have called that estimate an exaggeration, they confirmed there are 2,000 people in as many as 10 cities who have been identified as a top priority for deportation — many of them families.
Those raids were called off last month after Trump gave Democrats two weeks to change the nation’s laws that guarantee the right for people to apply for asylum.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said “there may be some possibilities for what we can do” but that it would take some time. She called targeting non-criminal families “heartless” and said it was up to Trump’s supporters to press him to abandon his plan.
“I’m going to appeal to people of faith, the faith-based organizations to appeal to the president … they put him in office and they have a better voice for this,” she told reporters.
The New York Times first reported that officials were planning to launch raids early Sunday. The Associated Press reported that the timeline could shift to later, however.
The large-scale operation would be a departure from past practices, in which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has focused its resources on rounding up people