Last month's dismissal of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official Ronald Vitiello may have been driven by their opposition to the administration's reported plan to arrest close to 10,000 recent immigrants, according to an investigation by the Washington Post.
ICE had a list of 2,500 adults and children to be targeted initially in the plan, which would eventually reach more than 10,000 in cities with large Central American presences like Los Angeles and Chicago. Most of these immigrants had crossed the border after the president intensified the government’s protection of the border in early 2018.
Nielsen and Vitiello’s halted the proposal because of logistical rather than moral concerns, according to the Post. “There was concern that it was being hastily put together, would be ineffective and might actually backfire by misdirecting resources away from critical border emergency response operations,” said one DHS official quoted by the Post.
Border Patrol veteran Vitiello was set to become the administration's first confirmed ICE director, until his nomination was halted on April 5. Nielsen was fired two days later.
Close to 60 percent of the 109,000 migrants detained in April were families and children -- the highest share ever.