Newsweek reports that Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), claims that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is preparing to remove one million immigrants that have failed to follow deportation orders. The news comes shortly after President Donald Trump said Friday that ICE roundups will begin “fairly soon.”
“They’re ready to just perform their mission, which is to go and find and detain and then deport the approximately one million people who have final removal orders,” Cuccinelli said on CBS News’ Face the Nation Sunday. “They’ve been all the way through due process and have final removal orders.”
But top immigration officials believe that it’s logistically impossible for the Trump administration to carry out millions of deportations with its current resources. As of now, the highest number of people deported by the current administration is 250,000, which took place in 2018. Under former President Barack Obama, the highest number of deportations was 410,000 in 2012.
In response to Trump’s initial announcement for “millions” of deportations, Yahoo News reports that Kevin Landy, a former ICE assistant director appointed by Obama, suggested that the number is exaggerated.
“Yes, there are millions of undocumented immigrants, but this operation will result in arrests of hundreds,” he said before adding that the ICE will focus on arresting families.
ICE built "target list" for deportations based on personal information provided by Palantir https://t.co/I2lrZrmk8Z
— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) July 3, 2019
Regardless, acting ICE director Mark Morgan believes that mass deportations will send a “powerful message” to Central Americans that are planning to make the dangerous journey north.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the ICE has been handing out massive fines of up to $500,000 to illegal immigrants. The fines target immigrants that have failed to follow deportation orders, and ICE claims that these kinds of notices have been issued since December 2018 on a case-by-case basis.
“ICE is committed to using various enforcement methods — including arrest, detention, technological monitoring and financial penalties — to enforce U.S. immigration law and maintain the integrity of legal orders issued by judges,” said ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke.
Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign largely ran on promises to crack down on immigration, and his recent plans for mass deportations could be a means of continuing this focus for his 2020 reelection campaign. But per The Inquisitr, Trump’s deportation numbers are less than Obama’s.
During each fiscal year of the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011, deportation numbers were above 385,000. Conversely, deportations sank to 226,119 in the 2017 fiscal year under Trump and then jumped to over 250,000 in the fiscal year of 2018. As of June, Axios reports that Trump’s highest deportation number is 282,242 in the current fiscal year.
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.