WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested only 35 migrants targeted as part of an operation targeting families with court-ordered removals, that President Donald Trump had touted on Twitter, the agency announced Tuesday.
The raids were planned to target around 2,000 migrant families who had been ordered removed by an immigration judge, but the latest numbers show the arrests fell far short of that goal. Of the 35 migrants arrested as part of Operation Border Resolve, 18 were family members and 17 were others who were encountered during an operation, said acting ICE Director Matthew Albence in a call with reporters Tuesday.
Trump insisted last week that the raids had been “very successful.”
Albence said the arrests occurred nationwide, but he refrained from providing information on where or when the arrests took place when pressed by reporters. He cited a tropical storm that moved through the Gulf of Mexico, officer safety, and increasing attention on the raids among the challenges faced by the agency. Still, Albence indicated that ICE will continue to target migrant families who have been ordered removed.
“We’re patient and we’ll continue to pursue these cases so they may have escaped detection for a short period of time but we’re going to continue to be out there working these cases,” Albence said.
While the latest arrests didn’t materialize as expected, they still instilled fear in the immigrant community. Undocumented immigrants across the country braced themselves for the raids this month. They called hotlines, stayed home from work, and posted signs by doors inside their homes telling them what to do if ICE agents show up.
Advocacy groups also canvassed neighborhoods, handing out fliers telling people what to do if ICE agents showed up at their door.
The New York Times first reported the apprehension numbers.