Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Trump delays nationwide deportation sweep for 'millions of illegal aliens'

Mr Trump called for immigration agents to round up migrants who have received final deportation orders

Migrants from Haiti wait in line next to the Mexican Commission for Migrant Assistance office in Tapachula. The flow of migrants into southern Mexico has slowed in recent days as Mexico deploys troops to the border under a tougher new policy adopted under pressure from the Trump administration. AP
Migrants from Haiti wait in line next to the Mexican Commission for Migrant Assistance office in Tapachula. The flow of migrants into southern Mexico has slowed in recent days as Mexico deploys troops to the border under a tougher new policy adopted under pressure from the Trump administration. AP

US President Donald Trump postponed a nationwide call to deport migrant families living illegally in the US, giving government officials two weeks to make changes to the country's immigration policy.

Mr Trump said he pushed back the start date of the deportations 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", he wrote on Twitter. "If not, Deportations start!"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked him to call off the raids on Friday.

“Mr President, delay is welcome,” Mrs Pelosi tweeted. “Time is needed for comprehensive immigration reform. Families belong together.”

The delay comes after Mr Trump ordered US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to round up some 2,000 migrant families who have been served with final deportation orders by federal judges but are still at large in the US, according to media reports. The operation was expected to start on June 23.

The first public announcement of the operation was a June 17 tweet from Mr Trump stating that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials would begin "removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States".

"They will be removed as fast as they come in," he wrote.

Numbers of Central American illegal border crossings has skyrocketed in recent months.

US border control has reported over 100,000 unauthorised crossings for the third consecutive month in May. Monthly arrests have reached their highest point since 2007 and are well on their way to exceed a 1 million annual total.

Immigration reform was a key campaign promise for Mr Trump's 2016 presidency bid. With the 2020 election in sight, the pressure is building for Trump to fulfil that promise.

His trade deal with Mexico was one of the most recent attempts to pressure foreign governments to prevent their people from heading north.

Threatening a 5 per cent import tariff on Mexican goods, Mr Trump demanded Mexico take a stronger effort to curb illegal migration into the US. As a result, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed two weeks ago to deploy 6,000 National Guard members to the country's shared southern border with Guatemala.

A senior Mexican official said on June 17 that migrant arrivals to the US border have dropped to 2,600 per day from 4,200 per day reported three weeks ago.

"Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people", Mr Trump said in a tweet.

Updated: June 23, 2019 02:00 PM

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