WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives' Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged religious leaders on Saturday to pressure President Donald Trump to stop immigration raids by his administration expected to target families in up to 10 U.S. cities on Sunday.
Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a release that the expected raids would "inject terror into our communities" and tear families apart. "The President's action makes no distinction between a status violation and committing a serious crime," Pelosi said, urging faith-based and other leaders to convey to Trump the value of U.S. refugee resettlement programs.
Trump, a Republican, told reporters on Saturday before heading to the Camp David presidential retreat that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was focused on getting the transnational street gang MS-13 out of the United States.
Many asylum seekers from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador cite gang violence driven largely by groups like MS-13, as the reason they come to the United States for refuge.
Mark Morgan, acting director of ICE, said this week his agency would target for deportation families that have received a removal order from a U.S. immigration court.
An operation was slated to launch on Sunday and expected to target up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders in as many as 10 U.S. cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Earlier on Saturday, Trump wrote on Twitter that ICE will apprehend people who have run from the law. "These are people that are supposed to go back to their home country," Trump wrote.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Nandita Bose; Editing by Tom Brown and Daniel Wallis)
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Updated Date: Jun 23, 2019 02:05:43 IST