(Reuters) – A scant 35 people were taken into custody during a long-threatened U.S. series of raids that targeted more than 2,100 immigrants who had been ordered deported, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing federal figures.
President Donald Trump described the raids over the July 13 weekend, dubbed “Operation Border Resolve,” as “very successful” even though much of the activity was not visible to the public.
The raids, originally scheduled for June for a dozen major U.S. cities, were highly publicized, likely prompting many who believed they were targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to leave their homes or hide, the Times reported.
As word spread about the possible ICE raids, immigration rights groups circulated “know your rights” materials in immigrant communities and on social media while local activists advised people not to answer the door to agents without a warrant and not to talk or sign any documents without a lawyer present.
Trump signaled the impending enforcement in a June tweet, saying officials would soon “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”
Facing a re-election battle next year, Trump has wanted to show his supporters that he is delivering on campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration, a signature policy objective of his administration.
He has pushed Guatemala, Mexico and other countries in the region to act as buffer zones and take in asylum seekers who would otherwise go to the United States.
Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that he is now considering a “ban,” tariffs and remittance fees after Guatemala decided to not move forward with a safe-third-country agreement that would have required the Central American nation to take in more asylum seekers.
It was not immediately clear what policies he was referring to. The White House and the Guatemalan government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)