The Trump administration is reportedly gearing up to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrants across the country, perhaps including raids in Baltimore.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen in an interview Thursday called the move a “reckless and unnecessary action” orchestrated by President Trump. And the Maryland Democrat said his offices are working throughout the state to monitor what’s happening and “do what we can to make sure that people are treated fairly and humanely.”
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said he is urging the administration to abandon any plans for raids.
“The federal government cannot be in the business of tearing apart families, including separating American citizen children from their immigrant parents,” Cardin said in a statement provided to Maryland Matters.
Raids are expected to begin on Sunday, The New York Times reported, after they were postponed by the administration. The arrests – first scheduled for late June – were anticipated to take place in Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.
Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said Wednesday that the raids are “absolutely going to happen,” although he wouldn’t specify a timeline, CNN reported.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson similarly declined to offer details about the agency’s plans, citing “law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.”
The spokesperson added, “As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Both Cardin and Van Hollen said federal forces should focus on reducing violence from Central American gangs in the U.S.
“The president has said in the past that he wants to target MS-13” gang members, Van Hollen said Thursday. “I was urging folks to focus on MS-13 before President Trump knew what they were. But this is not MS-13, these are people who are living in our community and so I think it’s a very destructive action.”
Van Hollen urged Trump to focus on gang members and “not families in Maryland or anywhere else in the country.”
Cardin urged the White House to “sit down with Congress and work on a comprehensive immigration reform package that both strengthens our border security and addresses the root causes of the migration crisis while providing a pathway to citizenship for long-standing residents who now call America home.”