Donald Trump defends detention centers, says nothing about ICE raids
President Donald Trump said nothing early Sunday about expected raids on migrant communities but did defend crowded conditions at border detention facilities – even after Vice President Mike Pence questioned some of those conditions during a recent tour.
“Sorry, can’t let them into our Country,” Trump tweeted about undocumented migrants. “If too crowded, tell them not to come to USA, and tell the Dems to fix the Loopholes – Problem Solved!”
Trump said Pence’s tour showed “how well run and clean the children’s detention centers are,” though Pence himself provided more of a mixed message during the trip on Friday.
While lauding “the compassionate work” of border officials in some of the facilities, Pence also mentioned “tough stuff” in an all-facility that was crowded and lacked showers.
“I was not surprised by what I saw,” he said. “I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed.”
A reporter traveling with Pence described a horrendous stench in the facility and said that nearly 400 men were housed in sweltering cages so crowded it would have been impossible for all of them to lie down. Some of the detainees shouted to reporters that they had been held 40 days or longer and complained that they were hungry.
In his Sunday tweet, Trump claimed that “the adult single men areas were clean but crowded – also loaded up with a big percentage of criminals.”
As of mid-morning, Trump had not tweeted about raids that were expected to happen in major U.S. cities.
Administration officials who appeared on the Sunday news shows declined to provide details of the operations.
“I can’t speak to operational specifics and won’t,” said Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, speaking on CNN’s State of the Union.
Migrant communities across the country braced for what they believe will be sweeping federal raids, detentions, and deportations.
Immigration advocates said the aggressive approach would separate families, and might sweep up innocent people. They noted that many people in the target list may have simply missed court hearings they may not have known about.
Many mayors said they would not allow local police to cooperate with the federal border agencies conducting the raids.
Trump had said Friday that border agents would begin raids in selected American cities on Sunday.
“It starts on Sunday and they’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“We are focused on criminals as much as we can before we do anything else,” he said.