It took a purge of Homeland Security officials before Trump was satisfied he had a team in place that would compliantly support a new round of even more hardline, even more cruel immigration policies. Trump has long muttered about his desire to see sweeping, massive deportation drives to remove undocumented immigrants from every corner of the nation; such moves are considered by most to be both impractical and, in targeting longstanding residents with deep family and community ties here, unfathomably abominable.
New “acting” Trump hire Ken Cuccinelli, a longtime far-right extremist with a penchant for following through on batshit insane ideas (such as launching an investigation of climate scientists, as Virginia attorney general, premised on internet conspiracy theories bellowing that the scientific community was engaged in a massive, worldwide fraud to trick the population into unnecessarily curbing pollution), is proving a willing partner in the new mass deportation plans. He took to Sunday show Face the Nation to assert that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was primed and “ready” for Trump’s orders.
“They’re ready to just perform their mission, which is to go and find and detain and then deport the approximately one million people who have final removal orders.”
Trump reiterated on Friday that the threatened mass roundups would begin “fairly soon.” He was apparently dissuaded from ordering those raids on previous occasions by advisers’ warnings that “roundups” targeting otherwise law-abiding families would be seen as cruel and inhumane; at least several of the voices arguing against a maximalist enforcement drive have, however, been done away with.
As for who the planned raids would target, Cuccinelli demurred, calling it “information kept within ICE at this point.” In order to fulfill Trump’s demands for large-scale, large-number deportations far outside ICE’s normal capabilities, however, it is all but certain that the focus would fall not on the sort of dangerous criminals usually prioritized by removal efforts, but on whichever men, women and children the agency can lay its hands on most speedily.