In the weeks before they were ousted last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top immigration enforcement official Ronald Vitiello challenged a secret White House plan to arrest thousands of parents and children in a blitz operation against migrants in 10 major U.S. cities…
But Vitiello and Nielsen halted it, concerned about a lack of preparation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, the risk of public outrage and worries that it would divert resources from the border.
Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller and ICE Deputy Director Matthew Albence were especially supportive of the plan, officials said, eager to execute dramatic, highly visible mass arrests that they argued would help deter the soaring influx of families.
The arrests were planned for New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and the other largest U.S. destinations for Central American migrants. Though some of the cities are considered “sanctuary” jurisdictions with police departments that do not cooperate with ICE, the plan did not single out those locations, officials said.