WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said the nationwide raids by immigration authorities that were delayed last week are planned to take place sometime after the July Fourth holiday.
The raids planned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in major cities across the nation were delayed after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Trump. The president announced June 22, a day before the raids were reported to begin, that he would give Congress two weeks to work on asylum laws and the flow of migrants at the southern U.S. border.
Trump, during a news conference after the G-20 summit in Japan, said that was still the plan despite Congress being on recess this upcoming week. House Democrats have pointed to the recess — which would impede the House from passing a bill on the issue — as a reason to the delay the raids. The operation was set to take place in 10 major cities and was aimed at rounding up undocumented immigrants and deporting them, according to various media outlets, including The Washington Post.
"Unless we do something pretty miraculous," the president said the raids would happen "sometime after July Fourth."
"We will be removing large numbers of people," Trump said. He added the process for reforming asylum laws should be easy, though presidents for decades have struggled with such legislation.
"We could do it quickly, we could do it in a day, we could do it in an hour," Trump said. "We could reform asylum very quickly."
The president said tougher laws and a wall along the border could help halt this flow of migrants and prevent deaths like that of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria, who drowned in the Rio Grande river in Mexico. A harrowing photo of the father and daughter face down in the river was published Tuesday by the Associated Press and renewed debate over the U.S. immigration system.
"If they thought it was hard to get in, they wouldn't be coming up," Trump said. "So many lives would be saved."
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This week, Congress passed an emergency funding bill to help alleviate the worsening crisis at the southern border. The $4.6 billion will help fund migrant detention centers, which were nearly out of cash due to the surge of families traveling to the border, including a large number from Central America.
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The bipartisan Senate measure led to an impasse in the House and requests for added restrictions to make conditions safer for migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. It passed after a tense back-and-forth between the Senate and House and led to infighting among House Democrats. The bill now heads to Trump's desk for signature.
Trump applauded the legislation and Pelosi, who was thrust into the middle of the debate within her party and sought to make everyone pleased with the legislation.
"She really worked with us," Trump said.
But Trump's timeframe wasn't enough to get both the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House to directly take on immigration laws this week. And due to the holiday recess, there's virtually no chance Trump's two-week deadline will be met.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Trump: ICE raids targeting immigrants planned after July 4