The ICE raids that President Donald Trump announced days in advance yielded just 35 arrests, acting ICE Chief Matthew Albence said Tuesday.
The raids in about a dozen cities were scheduled for June but delayed after Trump tweeted about the plans, vowing to “begin the process of removing millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.” Trump announced the raids again before ICE went through with the operation over the weekend. ICE agents arrested just 18 people who were part of family units and 17 others who were not targeted by the operation, Albence said.
Albence insisted that “this is just the beginning of the operation.”
Albence blamed immigration advocates who spread instructions on how to avoid ICE raids. ICE is not allowed to enter your house without permission, so the instructions essentially advised people to stay inside and not let ICE inside.
“Look, there are advocates, there are people in Congress who are sitting here giving instructions to people who are illegally in the country and telling them how to avoid detection and avoid the consequences of their illegal activity,” Albence said during a call with reporters Tuesday. “There’s no way for us to quantify what impact that had. But I mean, you couldn’t turn on any TV station anywhere in this country for several weeks without this being one of the lead topics.”
Trump tipped off people to the raids:
“Trump and his officials continued to publicize the raids, and the president said this month that the sweeps would start July 14. Albence did not fault the president for telegraphing the raids, but federal law enforcement operations generally are not publicized ahead of time to protect officers’ safety and avoid tipping off their targets before they are caught,” The Washington Post reported.
“Top White House officials urged going forward with the operation, largely as a show of force, hoping that it would deter potential migrants from coming north toward the United States,” the report said. “But internally, ICE officials expected to detain just 10 percent to 20 percent of their targets in each city, far fewer than the millions the president had pledged. Officials also have worried about intensifying public criticism of ICE.”