Members of US Congress Told Almost All Undocumented Immigrants 'Fair Game'
Members of Congress said a government immigration official told them that almost all undocumented immigrants are “fair game” for arrest and deportation.
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan met with 10 Democratic representatives on Thursday on Capitol Hill. Afterwards, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said it was hard to leave the meeting and believe “the Trump administration is not going to target as many immigrants as possible.”
Castro said the only exception was Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients-- immigrants who came to the United States at a young age and have been protected under a program established by former President Barack Obama.
“The only hesitation they seem to have was whether they would go after DACA recipients … Aside from that, everybody else is fair game for them,” Castro said.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order in his first week in office that set the stage for broader immigration enforcement.
“Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety,” the order says.
Members of Congress from Thursday’s meeting said out of the 686 undocumented immigrants arrested during last week’s round-up, 120 did not have criminal records.
ICE said during “targeted” enforcement operations officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in violation of federal immigration laws. “Those persons will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE,” the agency said.
Only 10 Democrats were allowed to attend the meeting with ICE’s acting director, while several others were asked to leave.
Trump Defends Accomplishments, Attacks Media at Press Conference
Donald Trump used his first solo press conference as president to deliver a broad defense of his turbulent first month in office, denying reports of chaos within the White House and insisting his administration is running “like a fine-tuned machine.”
The press conference, which lasted over 75 minutes, was at turns combative and comical, with Trump alternately joking with and then lecturing the media gathered in the White House East Room.
Trump touted a long list of what he said were accomplishments, including withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, implementing a federal government hiring freeze, and eliminating government regulations.
“We have made incredible progress,” Trump said. “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done.”
But Trump insisted he could have accomplished more were it not for what he termed the “mess” left by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. “I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess,” he said.
In what has become a standard part of the president’s public appearances, Trump also took aim at the news media, which he accused of downplaying his accomplishments and making up “fake news” in order to damage his administration. “The press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control,” he said.
This week, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was ousted after it was revealed that he misled White House officials about the nature of his conversations with Russian officials during the presidential transition period.
Trump has also suffered a steady stream of legal setbacks related to his executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and shutting down the refugee program.
Trump also dismissed news reports suggesting members of his campaign were in touch with Russian officials during the presidential election.
Some U.S. intelligence officials have concluded Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election, possibly with the intention of helping Trump win. Trump has rejected those claims.