US President Donald Trump has postponed the planned mass deportation of undocumented immigrants that were due to begin on Sunday.
In a tweet on Saturday, Trump said that “at the request of Democrats” the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) would delay the planned mass raids targeting people with deportation orders.
He said he approved the delay so that Democrats and Republicans in Congress could work out a compromise on immigration policy — a deal that has so far long eluded the president and his allies. Trump said the deal would have to solve “the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border.”
In another tweet on Sunday, he said deportations will begin in two weeks if the deal fails to materialise.
His words: “I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to Asylum and Loopholes. This will fix the Southern Border, together with the help that Mexico is now giving us. Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big Deportation begins!”
NBC however quotes two Department of Homeland Security officials as saying that the raids were called off largely because details of the plan had leaked to media, and that ICE did not have plans in place for detaining the 2,000 immigrants — mainly families — whom they were going to arrest and deport.
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said in a statement on Saturday that she hoped that leaders of faith-based and community organizations would “call upon the President to stop this brutal action which will tear families apart and inject terror into our communities.”
“These families are hard-working members of our communities and our country,” Pelosi said. “The President’s action makes no distinction between a status violation and committing a serious crime. It is important that the President and our immigrant communities know that they have rights in America.”
Trump had tweeted on Monday that ICE would begin deporting “millions” of immigrants whom he described as “illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way in to the United States.”