ICE was planning to perform a massive immigration raid — before the hurricane threat

According to an ICE spokeswoman, "life-saving and life-sustaining activities" in affected areas is the priority

By Matthew Rozsa
September 8, 2017 6:53PM (UTC)
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(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

According to a new report, the Department of Homeland Security planned on mass deportation raids — until hurricane season got in their way.

The five days series of raids were scheduled to commence on Sept. 17 under the title "Operation Mega," according to NBC News. The ultimate goal was to target and send en route to deportation roughly 8,400 undocumented immigrants, which an internal document described as "the largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE," or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said in a statement, ""While we generally do not comment on future potential law enforcement actions, operational plans are subject to change based on a variety of factors."

Rodriguez added, "Due to the current weather situation in Florida and other potentially impacted areas, along with the ongoing recovery in Texas, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had already reviewed all upcoming operations and has adjusted accordingly. There is currently no coordinated nationwide operation planned at this time. The priority in the affected areas should remain focused on life-saving and life-sustaining activities."

ICE has been particularly aggressive in its deportation policies since President Donald Trump's inauguration. This has included, among other controversial acts, removing a patient from a hospital who was fighting a brain tumor or rounding up alleged victims at domestic abuse shelters and hypothermia shelters. In April, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that they have even trolled courts to apprehend undocumented immigrants.


In short, the decision to suspend the massive raid was an uncharacteristic act of restraint on the part of ICE, although it seems unlikely that this was motivated by humanitarian concerns.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Homeland Security Hurricane Harvey Hurricane Irma Ice Immigration