Among the 2,000 undocumented immigrants being targeted now are those whose cases were expedited, having typically missed a court date and been ordered deported from the country in absentia. They were late letters in February demanding to report to an immigration and customs office to leave the country, Mr. Morgan said.
While Mr. Morgan said the agency would be targeting violent criminals for removal, "priorities not mean other categories are exempt." "And again," he added, "I think family units are a good example of that." Homeland Security Department officials have changed their minds multiple times in recent days over when to start the operations. Officials have been nervous about creating scenes of armed agents pulling children from homes and the possibility that some families could be separated.
More than 207,000 migrants have been released since December of last year, Mr. Morgan said. Many of them, he said, have taken advantage of laws that prevent the extended confinement of children, which can be quickly released after being apprehended.
"Mr. Morgan said
But the mass arrests come with logistical challenges.
But keeping families there could result in violations of the agreement, known as the Flores settlement, that established standards for the detention of children and limits it to 20 days.