Acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli said Wednesday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids are "absolutely going to happen" following a delay from the President to see if Congress could work out a legislative solution on immigration.
"We're not going to say when operational elements are going to roll out," he told reporters at the White House.
He continued, "They're absolutely going to happen. There's approximately a million people in this country with removal orders. And of course that isn't what ICE will go after in this, but that's the pool of people who have been all the way through the due process chain."
The New York Times reported Thursday that ICE would begin to arrest "thousands of members of undocumented families" nationwide beginning Sunday, citing one former and two current homeland security officials.
ICE had planned to arrest and deport families with court-ordered removals in 10 cities in late June, according to a senior immigration official. The day before the raids were set to begin, President Donald Trump delayed them for two weeks "to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border."
A week later at the G20 summit, Trump said his administration still planed to launch a series of ICE raids sometime after the end of that two week period, which would be after the July Fourth holiday.
A source familiar with the matter told CNN that the ICE operation is still being planned, and is expected to be more targeted than the original operation, but could still be nationwide.
Cuccinelli also seemed to concede that Trump's fight to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census after the Supreme Court blocked the question for the the time being will ultimately be up to the courts, but he said Trump is determined.
"Certainly anything that is so controllable by the executive branch ought to be controllable by the President, and so his determination to make sure that goes forward should absolutely be winnable," he said, adding, "The President, of course, is pushing everyone in the White House and the Department of Justice to find all the various ways he can act. So I think you can expect to see that. Certainly he's not a wallflower and you know expect his determination to carry that forward, and you know, we'll see what the courts say, but I don't have any doubt about the President's determination in that regard."
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