Trump says mass deportation roundups starting ‘fairly soon’

1 / 3
Asylum seekers wait to request an appointment with US migration authorities as a Federal policeman walks by, outside El Chaparral port of entry, in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on July 2, 2019. (AFP / Guillermo Arias)
2 / 3
A baby Cuban asylum seeker is seen in a makeshift migrant camp near the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on June 29, 2019. (REUTERS/Loren Elliott)
3 / 3
Customs and Border Protection agents survey cars entering the US, on the Puerta Mexico international bridge in Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, Mexico, on June 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Updated 06 July 2019

Trump says mass deportation roundups starting ‘fairly soon’

  • On Monday, Trump said the roundups would take place after the July 4 holiday
  • An increasing number of migrants are coming from countries outside Central America, including India, Cuba and Africa

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Friday mass deportation roundups would begin “fairly soon” as US migrant advocates vowed their communities would be “ready” when immigration officers come.
Trump, who has made a hard-line immigration stance a key issue of his presidency and his 2020 re-election bid, postponed the operation last month after the planned date was leaked to the press, but on Monday he said the roundups would take place after the July 4 holiday.
“They’ll be starting fairly soon, but I don’t call them raids, we’re removing people, all of these people who have come in over the years illegally,” he told reporters at the White House on Friday.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month said raids would target undocumented migrants who had recently arrived in the United States so as to discourage a surge of Central American families at the southwest border.
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s statement.
ICE operations are expected to involve “collateral arrests” in which undocumented migrants not directly targeted by officers are picked up in raids.
Government documents published this week by migrant rights groups showed some past ICE raids had more collateral arrests than apprehensions of targeted migrants. Migrant rights groups say this general, looming threat to undocumented migrants is harmful to communities and the US economy, as it forces adults to miss work and children to skip school out of fear they may be picked up and separated.
“We have to be ready, not just when Trump announces it, because there are arrests every day and they have been increasing,” said Elsa Lopez, an organizer for New Mexico immigrant and workers’ rights group Somos Un Pueblo Unido.
Migrant apprehensions on the southwest border hit a 13-year high in May but eased in June as Mexico increased immigration enforcement.
An increasing number of migrants are coming from countries outside Central America, including India, Cuba and Africa. The Del Rio, Texas, Border Patrol sector on Friday reported the arrest of over 1,000 Haitians since June 10.
Democratic lawmakers visited an El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol station on Monday and said migrants were being held in atrocious conditions, with women told to drink out of a toilet.
To “dispel” what he called “the misinformation,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Roy Villareal put out a video showing fresh water available from a cooler and a faucet in a cell at a Tucson, Arizona, sector migrant processing center.
“We’re not forcing aliens to drink out of the toilet,” said Villareal, head of an area that in May apprehended nearly six times fewer people than the El Paso sector, a stretch of border that has borne the brunt of the migrant surge.


Filipino expats unite as home country battles volcano’s wrath

Updated 41 min 39 sec ago

Filipino expats unite as home country battles volcano’s wrath

  • Filipino groups in Dubai are coming together to collect goods for donation for the Taal eruption victims
  • The Philippines remained on high alert on Friday as authorities monitored Taal, which is the second most active volcano in the country

DUBAI: A vast grey stretched across empty villages – once verdant, now lifeless after volcanic ash wiped its colors. The thick charcoal-like substance cloaked cracked roads, tumbled trees, and dilapidated houses, as an angry volcano rumbled in the Philippines.

Tens of thousands of people were displaced earlier this week when Taal Volcano, a picturesque tourist spot about 70 kilometers south of Manila, spew huge plume of volcanic ash to the sky and triggered sporadic tremors around the province.

“When can we go back to our homes?” a hopeful man asked Filipino volunteer Jaya Bernardo, as she visited an evacuation site near where the Taal Volcano erupted on Sunday.

She couldn’t answer him straight, Bernardo said, because that meant telling him there might not be anything to go back to.

Bernardo, who lives in a mildly-hit town around Taal, has been going around evacuation centers to give out care packages, saying it’s “important for people to come together” in times like this.

Within hours of the volcanic eruption, the call for help reached the UAE, home to about a million Filipino expats. Many community groups have been organizing donation drives to collect goods to be sent back home.

Lance Japor, who leads a community group in Dubai, said inquiries were coming in about how to help volcano victims even before a campaign was announced.

“What I’ve noticed is that the desire to help others in need is innate to us,” he told Arab News, adding it was not the first time Filipino expats showed urgent concern and care for their countrymen when a calamity hit the Philippines.

There was a strong response for families displaced from a city in the south of the country after armed rebels captured the area. A community group from Dubai flew to the restive city to hand out gifts to families who had taken refuge in an abandoned building.

Japor’s volcano campaign has attracted the help of private companies such as hotels donating blankets and pillows, and cargo companies pledging to deliver the packages for free to the Philippines.

Filipino expats have also expressed a desire to volunteer, Japor added, and a volunteer event has been scheduled for Jan. 18 at the Philippines’ Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s office in Dubai.

Groups in the UAE are working with organizations in the Philippines to facilitate the donations and determine what the affected communities need. The list includes special face masks and eye drops, said Japor.

The Philippines remained on high alert on Friday as authorities monitored Taal, which is the second most active volcano in the country.

Volcanic ash has blanketed the area and villages lie empty, with authorities warning of a “bigger eruption” as earthquakes were still being felt around the area. 

The region was at alert level four from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, meaning that “hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.” The highest alert level is five.

The institute strongly reiterated total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and high-risk areas as identified in hazard maps.

“Residents around Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall. Civil aviation authorities must advise pilots to avoid the airspace around Taal Volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column pose hazards to aircraft,” it added.

Police in the area have also warned residents against trying to go back to their houses without official clearance from authorities, but local media reports said people were sneaking back by boat to the island and nearby towns to check on their possessions.