CHICAGO — It was relatively quiet day for many immigration groups Sunday, but if not for a reversal by President Donald Trump, sweeping immigration raids would have likely been underway across Chicago.
On Saturday, President Trump delayed a nationwide immigration sweep aimed at deporting people living the United States illegally, including families. The raids were set to target those who have ignored deportation orders in 10 major cities, including Chicago, which the president singled out as a "high crime" sanctuary city.
Trump announced the two-week delay Saturday, reportedly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed for him to call off the raids. Sunday morning, the president tweeted:
“I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to asylum and loopholes. This will fix the southern border, together with the help that Mexico is now giving us. Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big deportation begins!"
Even so, immigration groups like the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights remain on guard, and are still trying to determine what to do next. Activists have been busy all weekend in Chicago, protesting and working with families.
The ACLU is accusing the president is playing games with the lives of millions of people, calling the threatened raids blatant cruelty whether or not they occur.
Reacting to the president's decision, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Chicago is united in its support of immigrant communities, and criticized the planned raids.
“This is a race to the bottom for [Trump], galvanize shrinking base at expense of terrorizing our immigrant communities,” Lightfoot said.
Ahead of the planned raids, Lightfoot directed the Chicago police to cut off Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE's) access to its databases because Chicago is a sanctuary city.
Despite Trump's extension, Lightfoot said she isn't optimistic anything will get done in two weeks.