House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told illegal immigrants who are subject to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportations that they can refuse to open the door for agents if they do not have a warrant signed by a judge. Pelosi’s advice comes after reports that the immigration enforcement operation is scheduled to begin over the weekend.
“An ICE deportation warrant is not the same as a deportation warrant. If that is the only document ICE brings to a home raid, agents do not have the legal right to enter a home,” Pelosi said during a press conference on July 11.
“If ICE agents don’t have a warrant signed by a judge, a person may refuse to open the door and let them in. An administrative order of removal from ICE or immigration authorities is simply not enough. Families belong together; everyone in our country has rights. Many of these families are mixed-status families.”
“Families belong together. Every person in America has rights,” she also said. “These families are hard-working members of our communities and our country.”
The operation, which will target at least 2,000 illegal immigrants, is set to begin on July 14 in ten major cities across the nation, two current and one former homeland security officials told the New York Times in an article published on July 11. The Associated Press, citing anonymous officials, also reported that the operation is expected to begin this weekend.
The plan to enforce the law on illegal immigrants with final orders of removal, including families whose immigration cases had been fast-tracked by a judge, was announced by President Donald Trump in late June.
The president also recently started hinting about the deportations, saying last week that they would start “fairly soon.” He said, “Well, I don’t call them raids. I say they came in illegally and we’re bringing them out legally.”
The federal agency said in a statement to the Associated Press that it would not discuss specifics about enforcement operations.
“As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security,” according to the statement.
Like Pelosi, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) gave similar advice to illegal immigrants on a Twitter post.
“ICE will launch raids across 10 major cities this SUNDAY. Check your neighbors & know your rights. Remember: no one can enter your home without a *judicial warrant.* Sometimes ICE will try to show other papers to get in your house. Judicial warrants are from a court,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
The operation sparked criticism from Democrats and activist groups over the past few weeks, but the president defended his decision to remove the illegal immigrants in a social media post on June 22.
“The people that Ice will apprehend have already been ordered to be deported,” Trump said earlier today. “This means that they have run from the law and run from the courts. These are people that are supposed to go back to their home country. They broke the law by coming into the country, & now by staying.”
“When people come into our Country illegally, they will be DEPORTED!” Trump added.
The Pew Reseach Center recently found that there were about 10.5 million illegal immigrants present in the United States in 2017.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.