By Mike Lillis
February 13, 2017
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday hammered the Trump administration’s recent roundup of hundreds of immigrants, accusing the president of launching a campaign explicitly designed to instill fear in immigrant communities.
“Fear is not a side effect of President Trump’s hateful and destructive immigration agenda,” she said in a statement. “It is the purpose.”
The comments came in response to a series of recent operations in which immigration enforcers under the Department of Homeland Security arrested almost 700 people across 11 states, with plans to deport them.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Monday issued a statement characterizing the actions as a “routine” duty of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In a statement, he said roughly 75 percent of those arrested were “criminal aliens,” with the agency targeting those “who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.”
Trump on Monday also defended the operations, saying he was simply making good on a central campaign theme: the promise to round up and deport undocumented people who have committed crimes.
“We are going to get the bad ones. The really bad ones, we’re getting them out and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House.
“In the end everyone is going to be extremely happy.”
But immigrant rights advocates and a long list of Democrats have denounced the arrests as overly-aggressive raids that have swept up people who pose no threat at all, splitting families in the process.
Pelosi on Monday amplified those concerns, calling on the administration to release more information about those it rounded up.
“Tearing apart families and dragging parents out of their homes does not make America great,” she said.
“The Trump Administration owes the American people the facts. If ICE has been ordered to spend its time deporting law-abiding mothers and fathers instead of violent criminals, the public has a right to know.”
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