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Trump delays nationwide operation to deport immigrants

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Saturday. Credit: AP/Susan Walsh

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Saturday he would postpone the immigration raids set to start Sunday to give Congress two weeks to work to address problems at the Southern border amid pleas and condemnation from several mayors and lawmakers.

Trump announced the temporary halt to the sweep by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents across 10 major cities to remove noncitizens under court order to the leave country in a tweet just hours after he defended the controversial action.

“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” Trump tweeted.

“If not, Deportations start!” he said in the Saturday afternoon posting.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Saturday morning issued a statement urging Trump to reconsider his order to ICE to conduct the raids and urged religious and advocacy group leaders to contact and urge Trump to halt the action causing fear among immigrant families.

“It is my hope that before Sunday, leaders of the faith-based community and other organizations that respect the dignity and worth of people will call upon the President to stop this brutal action which will tear families apart and inject terror into our communities,” she said.

And Pelosi appealed directly to the president’s own sentiment about harming people.

“Yesterday, the President spoke about the importance of avoiding the collateral damage of 150 lives in Iran,” she said. “I would hope he would apply that same value to avoiding the collateral damage to tens of thousands of children who are frightened by his actions.”

ICE had planned to seek out and apprehend about 2,000 families who had been served with and ignored court deportation orders in as many as 10 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Miami, beginning Sunday.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio had both condemned the raids and promised to aid the targeted families.

“We will fight back at every turn to protect our immigrant families,” Cuomo promised. “New York will continue to be the beacon of inclusion and diversity that the nation and the world looks to.”

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