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Sat Jun 22, 2019, 08:43 AM

Trump's acting DHS secretary appears wary of his ICE raids. That says a lot.

By Aaron Blake
June 22 at 7:30 AM


Now Trump is trying to quickly implement another controversial immigration plan, by launching Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids to quickly deport undocumented families, starting Sunday. And the head of DHS appears understandably wary.

The Post’s Nick Miroff, who has been breaking news like crazy when it comes to the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border, reported Friday that the raids would begin this weekend. And the scale is large, with as many as 2,000 families targeted in 10 major U.S. cities.

But this time, Trump’s acting Homeland Security secretary is apparently conveying that he’s not onboard with the plan for the “family op.” Kevin McAleenan, who has crafted a solid bipartisan reputation since taking over for the departed Kirstjen Nielsen, has advised against such a quick implementation.

Here are few key passages from Miroff’s latest story:

Acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan has been urging ICE, an agency within his department, to conduct a narrower, more targeted operation that would seek to detain a group of about 150 families that were provided with attorneys but dropped out of the legal process and absconded.

McAleenan has warned that an indiscriminate operation to arrest migrants in their homes and at work sites risks separating children from their parents in cases where the children are at day care, summer camp or friend’s houses. He also has maintained that ICE should not devote major resources to carrying out a mass interior sweep while telling lawmakers it needs emergency funding to address the crisis at the U.S. border.


The White House has been in direct communication with acting ICE director Mark Morgan and other ICE officials, circumventing McAleenan, three officials said.


McAleenan has said that the crisis at the border — where more than 144,000 were taken into custody last month — remains the most urgent problem for DHS. Following Trump’s threats to slap tariffs on Mexico, McAleenan led negotiations with Mexican officials that resulted in commitments to dramatically toughen enforcement and begin work on a regional asylum overhaul that would allow the United States to send asylum seekers back to Central America.

Officials say McAleenan does not oppose ICE interior enforcement against families with deportation orders, but he wants a more limited approach that averts a repeat of “zero tolerance.”


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