In a tweet that reportedly took law enforcement by surprise, President Donald Trump disclosed that “next week” a national round up of undocumented persons would be launched. Obviously, ICE prefers not to inform potential arrestees that they are coming. Recently, it was reported that intelligence officials withheld details of their operations against Russia in fear that Trump might disclose the operation or compromise its purpose.
Trump tweeted Monday night that “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
In the past, the Trump Administration has charged that mayors (like the one in Oakland) are obstructing enforcement by telling people in advance of enforcement sweeps by ICE.
With over 11 million undocumented persons, it is highly unlikely that full-scale deportations would be able to remove a sizable percentage. ICE is currently averaging only around 7,000 deportations a month. However, regardless of the likely success, there is something odd about telling potential deportees that sweeps will be launched last week. Even if the President waited just after the first few days of sweeps (after which the word would have gotten out), ICE would have been in a better position.
I remain skeptical, as I discussed in a recent column, that serious deterrence can’t be established without showing equal vigor in prosecuting large-scale employers of undocumented workers. That is even more unlikely when workers and employers are told in advance of a new enforcement push.