President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would postpone mass deportation raids for two weeks as he seeks compromise with Democratic leaders on immigration issues, Reuters writes.
The President was under pressure from Democrats to call off the roundup, which was expected to target families in up to 10 U.S. cities on Sunday.
U.S. House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, asked Trump by phone on Friday night to call off the raids, according to a person familiar with the matter. Pelosi also urged religious leaders on Saturday to put pressure on Trump.
The President, a Republican, has made illegal immigration a centerpiece of his administration and is highlighting the issue in his campaign for the 2020 election.
He has railed against an increase in people crossing the U.S. southern border, many from Central America who are seeking refuge in America under U.S. asylum laws. On Saturday he said the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was focused on getting the transnational street gang MS-13 out of the United States.
Trump said in a Twitter message he was delaying the raids at the request of Democrats to see if a compromise could be reached. If a solution isn’t found to “Asylum and Loophole problems,” he said, “Deportations start!”
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, Reuters notes.