U.S. House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged religious leaders on Saturday to pressure President Donald Trump to stop immigration raids by his administration expected to target families in up to 10 U.S. cities on Sunday.
Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a release that the expected raids would “inject terror into our communities” and tear families apart.
“The President’s action makes no distinction between a status violation and committing a serious crime,” Pelosi said, urging faith-based and other leaders to convey to Trump the value of U.S. refugee resettlement programs.
Trump, a Republican, told reporters on Saturday before heading to the Camp David presidential retreat that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was focused on getting the transnational street gang MS-13 out of the United States.
Many asylum seekers from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador cite gang violence driven largely by groups like MS-13, as the reason they come to the United States for refuge.
Mark Morgan, acting director of ICE, said this week his agency would target for deportation families that have received a removal order from a U.S. immigration court.
An operation was slated to launch on Sunday and expected to target up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders in as many as 10 U.S. cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Earlier on Saturday, Trump wrote on Twitter that ICE will apprehend people who have run from the law. “These are people that are supposed to go back to their home country,” Trump wrote.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement calling on the President to halt his heartless planned immigration raids:
“Tomorrow is Sunday, and as many people of faith attend religious services, the President has ordered heartless raids. It is my hope that before Sunday, leaders of the faith-based community and other organizations that respect the dignity and worth of people will call upon the President to stop this brutal action which will tear families apart and inject terror into our communities.
“Families belong together. These families are hard-working members of our communities and our country.
“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.
“Yesterday, the President spoke about the importance of avoiding the collateral damage of 150 lives in Iran.
“I would hope he would apply that same value to avoiding the collateral damage to tens of thousands of children who are frightened by his actions.
“The evangelical community has said that America’s refugee resettlement program is the crown jewel of American humanitarianism.
“I hope that they and other people of faith would convey that value to the President. As President Reagan said, ‘Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier.
“’If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost,’” she said in the statement.