ATLANTA — Three weeks after the original announcement of targeted raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, a mass roundup of families facing deportation in up to 10 cities -- including Atlanta -- will get underway this weekend.
The raids are expected to begin as pre-dawn raids in the cities and could begin later, according to unnamed federal officials, who spoke to the Associated Press.
The operation would pursue families whose immigration cases were fast-tracked by judges in major cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Miami, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.
Last month's raids were postponed after President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he wanted to work with Democrats in Congress to "work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!"
The sweep, as it was initially designated last month, was supposed to mark the start of an effort to deport millions of people who are in the country illegally, which is a near-impossibility, given the limited resources of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which makes the arrests and carries out the deportation orders.
Prior to the aborted June raids, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was among other city leaders around the nation who said they were not planning to provide material support to ICE and their efforts.
Appearing on CNN Friday, Bottoms said that the city has closed its detention center to ICE, "because we don't want to be complicit in separation" of children from their parents.
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"This does not just create anxiety in our immigrant communities, but in all of our families," Bottoms said.
She said the city was sending out messages to Atlanta's immigrant community in English and in Spanish to let them know that they have rights.
"They are entitled to due process -- and that includes not opening the door," Bottoms said. "There are numbers you can call. Stay vigilant."
Bottoms said that she and other mayors across the nation were finding it hard to deal with Trump, whom she described as an "unpredictable president who notifies us via Twitter."
"We already have a humanitarian crisis happening in real time in our detention centers to children who have been separated from their parents," Bottoms said. "Now you have people who won't show up for work, who won' t show up for doctor's appointments -- who, by and large -- have not committed any crimes."
In June, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot likewise said her city's police department would not participate in the ICE roundup.
Lightfoot said on June 21 that she had directed the Chicago Police Department to terminate ICE access to its databases related to federal immigration enforcement activities. She said at the time that the city's police superintendent had confirmed that the order had been carried out.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti echoed Lightfoot, saying that law enforcement in L.A. would never participate in such raids.
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