(WPRI) — Reports varied on the widespread “ICE raids” that President Donald Trump threatened would begin Sunday, the large-scale federal immigration crackdown that targeted immigrants in the country illegally who have final orders of removal against them.
The raids are happening in some areas, the New York Times reported Monday, but not in a massive sweep. Instead, they will be carried out in smaller raids over several days.
But whether they should happen at all continues to be hotly disputed.
Congressman David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, is vehemently against them.
“This is a president who has continued to try to weaponize the immigrant community and instill tremendous fear in the community, and I think that is incredibly disappointing,” he said Monday.
Cicilline says the president has political value in talking about immigration, rather than actually solving it.
Bristol County, Mass. Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who’s been a continued outspoken advocate of hard-line immigration laws, said Monday the raid threat is about maintaining law and order.
For those who fault the separation of families in the current hard-line climate, Hodgson responded, “We have been separating families in the United States—American families—for generations. When people violated the law and chose to make a bad choice and were ordered to prison, then we separate them from their families.”
Hodgson also said more than a hundred of his fellow sheriffs around the country are planning to take part in a rally in Washington, D.C. in September supporting the hard-line on immigration.
The White House says about 2,000 people are believed to be targeted by the raids.
Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence said Sunday the operations target those who pose a threat to public safety.
“We are doing targeted enforcement actions against specific individuals who have had their day in immigration court and have been ordered removed by an immigration judge,” he told Fox News.
The Trump administration announced Monday that asylum seekers will be required to apply for protection in at least one country they crossed while en route to the United States. Otherwise, they will be blocked.