Nothing contributes to the success of raids like … advance warning. Right? Reuters got an exclusive look at an internal DHS memo detailing plans to conduct immigration-violation raids to detain and deport absconders, mainly women and children from Central America. The operation will certainly have some questioning the timing:
U.S. immigration officials are planning a month-long series of raids in May and June to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children found to have entered the country illegally, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters.
The operation would likely be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families by the administration of President Barack Obama this year after a similar drive over two days in January that focused on Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina. …
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has now told field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day “surge” of arrests focused on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States, the document seen by Reuters said. The operation would also cover minors who have entered the country without a guardian and since turned 18 years of age, the document said. Two sources confirmed the details of the plan.
How effective were the previous raids? That depends on one’s expectations. DHS reported that they had captured over a hundred absconders, certainly a significant number on its own but a drop in the bucket for the overall problem. However, it did give at least one person a unique opportunity:
Those raids, which resulted in the detention of 121 people, mostly women and children, sparked an outcry from immigration advocates and criticism from some Democrats, including the party’s presidential election frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Hmmmm. That seems pretty convenient for Hillary Clinton, and perhaps even more convenient for her as the Democratic nomination fight wraps up. Hillary hopes to leverage the Hispanic vote to defeat Donald Trump in the general election, after all, and this gives her a big opening to make her pitch.
Trump supports raids and roundups on a much larger scale than these DHS operations as well as the big wall to arguably make them unnecessary in the future. While Hillary will be seen as the third term of Barack Obama in many ways, this gives her an opportunity to shift the onus of these raids from Democrats to Republicans with voters. Hey, I oppose these raids, Hillary will claim, and if Trump gets elected they’ll only get worse! Furthermore, thanks to this leak, Hillary can make that argument well before DHS gets its operations under way, allowing her to frame the issue to her benefit. If the scale of these raids is the same as those in January, their explicit impact will be felt by few, but the political impact will still be wide.
Besides … shouldn’t DHS apprehend absconders on a regular basis rather than staging occasional, high-profile “raids” with a couple of weeks of warning?