While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were preparing for a massive raid targeting thousands of people, the agency excitedly told agents “happy hunting and target building!”
According to internal ICE documents obtained by The Daily Beast, the message came prior to Operation EPIC (formerly operation MEGA), which singled out approximately 8,400 undocumented immigrants to be deported in 2017. The agents participating in the raid appeared to be excited for the opportunity, according to the tone of the emails.
When one of the agents in ICE’s San Bernardino field office said that the name of the operation should be changed to “Operation Super Epic Mega sonic just so there’s no confusion”, another agent said the name of the operation was “Trumppped!!”
Agents were prepared for the possibility of children being in the homes where the raids were to be conducted, and deportation officers were told that arrests of immigrant children should be staggered if possible, as there was limited bed space at Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facilities for immigrant children.
One immigrant rights advocate told the Beast that the conditions of the raid as described in the emails were consistent with other, smaller deportation raids.
“In many instances, ICE will go to homes maybe looking for someone else, and if those individuals open the door, even if they don’t have a warrant, once the door is opened, they’ll just walk right in,” Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles executive director Angelica Salas told the Beast. “If they don’t find those individuals, but find others who are undocumented, it is very likely that those people will be picked up.”
The newly obtained emails come just as the Trump administration is about to launch another massive raid operation following the 4th of July. The upcoming raids come roughly two weeks after a previous announcement to conduct deportation raids in 10 major U.S. cities. While President Trump tweeted that the delay in raids was in hopes that Congress could come together to find a solution, HuffPost reported that it was actually because ICE was logistically unprepared to conduct such a massive operation — especially given the fact that many mayors told ICE that their law enforcement would not be assisting them.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.