A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official has criticized Donald Trump for tweeting about an upcoming mass deportation operation, accusing the president of “telegraphing” the upcoming operation and giving those who might get caught up in the sweep plenty of time to plan ahead.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” he wrote.
John Amaya, who served as deputy chief of staff of ICE during the Obama administration, called that tweet untoward.
“This runs afoul of basic law enforcement 101. You never telegraph operations en masse.”
Amaya criticized the president for not just alerting those who might be caught up in the upcoming raid, but also for putting ICE agents at risk of violence by “targets” who know they’re coming.
“This president doesn’t understand the first thing about law enforcement, and he is now showing that he cares about officer well-being even less,” he said.
Kevin Landy, a former ICE assistant director appointed by President Barack Obama, echoed his colleague’s concerns. Like Amaya, Landy served in the Obama administration, and like Amaya, he has concerns about Trump’s tweet, saying it “demonstrates once again why his own officials try to avoid briefing him on classified information.”
Landy also called Trump’s claims that “millions” will be deported “typical Trump braggadocio,” pointing out that the planned operation would be different in targeting families rather than adults, but that it wouldn’t result in an increase in the total numbers of those arrested by ICE.
Further, Landy noted that ICE frequently conducts raids, not just for rounding up illegal immigrants for its own sake, but also for publicity’s sake.
“Going after families in one action would probably maximize publicity, which the administration wants, in order to create a deterrent effect,” he said.
Trump previously criticized Oakland, California, Mayor Libby Schaaf, who last year warned residents of her city that an ICE raid was upcoming. As Newsweek reported at the time, Shaaf had been tipped off that an immigration sweep was being planned for Oakland. In a tweet, she warned residents of the upcoming raid; it’s believed that around 900 illegal immigrants targeted in the raid, tipped off by Schaaf’s warning, managed to avoid being caught and remained at-large after the operation. Trump urged then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute Schaaf for the tip-off.
As San Francisco’s KGO-TV reports, Schaaf says she finds it “ironic” that Trump criticized her for warning Oakland about an upcoming raid, while the president, on the other hand, “warned the entire nation.”
Editor’s note: This story previously incorrectly referred to Kevin Landy as a “former ICE agent.” Mr. Landy was a political appointee during the Obama administration responsible for developing reforms to the immigration detention system. The narrative also previously misconstrued Mr. Landy’s concerns regarding Trump’s tweet and planned raids. He has criticized the Trump Administration’s plans to arrest undocumented immigrant families.