The White House has told Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials to continue performing other workplace enforcement operations, shortly after President Donald Trump said this week’s raids in Mississippi were a “very good deterrent” for illegal immigrants. The conversation was confirmed by a senior immigration official with knowledge of the matter.
The official added that following the recent raid, in which almost 700 undocumented immigrants were detained, ICE field officers from all over the United States were instructed to identify at least two locations in their regions as potential targets for workplace enforcement operations.
According to CNN, these could include criminal investigations, business audits and raids.
Despite the heartbreaking videos and images of children pleading with ICE officers to let them see their parents, the outlet adds, President Trump defended the raids and the ICE strategy for dealing with the children whose parents were detained.
On Friday, he told reporters outside the White House, “You have to go in, you can’t let anybody know. Otherwise, when you get there, nobody will be there,” responding to a question regarding the strategy employed to deal with the children after their parents’ arrests.
“The big factor is to let people outside of the country that want to come in legally,” he continued. “I want people to know that if they come into the United States illegally, they’re getting out. They’re going to be brought out. And this serves as a very good deterrent.”
Trump stressed that the Mississippi workplace enforcement operations will show everyone who is in the country illegally that they stand no chance of staying in the U.S.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst called the raids “the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation’s history.”
Over 300 of the detained immigrants were released by Thursday, said a spokesperson for ICE.
President Trump announced the raids earlier this summer, saying that ICE would “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”