The damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey and the harm looming in the Caribbean from Hurricane Irma prompted the Department of Homeland Security to cancel a series of nationwide raids targeting thousands of undocumented immigrants, NBC News reports. The series of raids were set to take place over five days beginning September 17th in what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was touting internally in an agency-wide memo as “the largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE.”
Here’s more on the series of raids, dubbed “Operation Mega,” from NBC News:
ICE had been planning the operation internally since mid-August and had instructed officers in the field to target adults deemed to be gang members or perpetrators of serious crimes, said one of the officials. Other undocumented immigrants not suspected of crimes may have been swept up in the raids as “collateral,” the official said. Immigration agents often only arrest one-quarter to one-half of the target population due to the difficulty of locating individuals and getting them to open their doors to agents. Operation Mega would not have targeted juveniles, one of the officials said.
The ICE operation targeting 8,400 undocumented immigrants was called off after the NBC News story, published on Thursday, revealed the scheduled raids, according to the network. “While we generally do not comment on future potential law enforcement actions, operational plans are subject to change based on a variety of factors,” ICE spokesman Sarah Rodriguez said in a statement Thursday. “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.”