LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — A plan announced by President Donald Trump to remove millions of people in the country illegally is “not logistically possible”, at least in the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday.
In a late-night tweet Monday, Trump says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin the removal process next week. He tells his Twitter followers, “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
An administration official says the effort will focus on people who have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges but remain at large in the country.
In an interview Tuesday with CBS News, Garcetti said the task of roughly 800 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents deporting “probably” around 1 million undocumented immigrants in the L.A. area is “not logistically possible”.
Garcetti expressed serious doubts about whether Trump’s plan could be implemented effectively, saying, “It’s not a real plan.”
“They’re not gonna come anywhere close to a million, but that’s not the point, they want the fear to be with all one million,” he said.
Trump has threatened a series of increasingly drastic actions as he tries to stem the flow of Central American migrants crossing the southern border, which has risen dramatically on his watch.
One of those actions includes a potentially wide-ranging effort to deport millions here illegally, an effort Garcetti linked to what he called some of America’s “darkest chapters” and “darkest moments”: the Eisenhower-era mass deportation known as “Operation Wetback”, considered to be the largest such effort in U.S. history.
The mayor says Americans instead want to see Dreamers and those who serve in armed forces become citizens, and support efforts to prevent violence from spilling across our border.
“Instead we’ve got this slapdash approach – stick up a wall, threaten tariffs, take aid away from Central American countries, and then say you’re going to try and deport a million people?” he said.
Tariffs on Mexico, added Garcetti, “might make the country poorer” and could result in “more people coming over”.
Immigration is expected to be a central issue of Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, which officially launches Tuesday.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)