Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, frustrated by the cancellation of a planned meeting with the chief of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on Tuesday, demanded more details about stepped-up deportation efforts.
Watch video of the congresswoman in Washington below.
ICE reported Monday that officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City regions arrested more than 680 people “who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.”
The enhanced deportations – at least so far – have not been carried out in New Mexico.
While ICE officials have said those arrested and deported have posed safety threats, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., said Homan told her Monday that the deportations reflected a “broader effort” than just targeting felons or violent criminals.
“He confirmed … that unlike other actions in the past that this is a broader effort that can be aimed at anyone that has a criminal record or is suspected of criminal activity, which meets the language of course of broader discretion to Homeland Security and I’m very concerned about that because that’s a shift,” Grisham said.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said the Obama administration targeted dangerous criminals for deportations, but would not apprehend a babysitter or neighbor who might also have questionable immigration status but didn’t pose a threat
“It looks like, if the dangerous criminal is there and there are random other people there, they are picking up those people too,” Lofgren said.
Lujan Grisham said she is requesting very specific information about who ICE is deporting and that she was “more than disappointed” Tuesday’s meeting was cancelled.
“The request to have the meetings was to get real information – data – about who was apprehended, who were the targets, where and to confirm that information with our constituents…to make sure we’re following the law and people are getting due process,” said Lujan Grisham, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Gillian M. Christensen, a spokeswoman for ICE in Washington, told the Journal the meeting was delayed until Thursday to allow for bipartisan participation after the initial list of just six Democrats expected to participate “grew substantially.”
“DHS reached out to the House leadership staff to arrange a bipartisan, in-depth briefing, which the Speaker’s office arranged and scheduled for Thursday of this week,” Christensen said. “ICE looks forward to sharing information on its enforcement operations and how they are humanely and professionally enforcing U.S. immigration law.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Pearce, a New Mexico Republican who represents the state’s border with Mexico, said the recent raids “have been declared by Department of Homeland Security Secretary (John) Kelly as based on public safety threats of people who are not legally eligible to be in our country based on the laws we have.”
“We now have the opportunity under the Trump Administration to fix our nation’s broken immigration system and enforcing the laws we have,” Pearce added.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has canceled a meeting with Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that was scheduled for today, the Journal has learned.
The meeting was to allow members of Congress and ICE officials to discuss stepped-up deportations of those unlawfully in the U.S.
Lujan Grisham told the Journal Monday she is worried that the stepped-up deportations, which ICE said is focused on criminals, could be the beginning of a nationwide effort to round up and deport millions of people in the country illegally.
I’m told that the meeting is expected to be rescheduled later this week and could include Republican leaders who did not appear to be part of the meeting scheduled today.
I’ll update this post as more information becomes available today.