US to start removing millions of illegal immigrants next week: Trump

There are about 12 million aliens who arrive via Mexico, Central American nations

Mexico illegals AFP Migrants and residents use a makeshift raft to illegally cross the Suchiate river, from Tecun Uman, in Guatemala to Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico | AFP

In a provocative tweet late on Monday night, US President Donald Trump declared US immigration authorities will “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly” entered the US.

Trump tweeted, “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people.......”

ICE is the acronym for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. On June 7, Trump had reached an agreement with the government of Mexico that required illegal immigrants seeking to enter the US via Mexico to seek asylum there till their cases are heard by US courts. The deal with Mexico sought to arrive at “definitive terms for a binding bilateral agreement to further address burden-sharing and the assignment of responsibility for processing refugee status claims of migrants”.

Experts said the deal with Mexico was similar to a 'safe third country' framework to take in refugees. The deal with Mexico was arrived at after a threat from Trump to hike tariffs on imports.

There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who arrive in the US via Mexico and other Central American nations.

Trump also tweeted that Guatemala was “getting ready to sign a safe third” nation agreement that would mean immigrants transiting through the country would have to seek asylum there. Trump tweeted, “... Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement. The only ones who won’t do anything are the Democrats in Congress. They must vote to get rid of the loopholes, and fix asylum! If so, Border Crisis will end quickly!”

Guatemala has not confirmed any negotiations on illegal immigration with the US. The swipe at the Democrats will revive memories of the over month-long shutdown in US federal government services in December-January. The shutdown was a result of the Democrat-controlled House of Congress refusing to agree to Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall to prevent illegal immigrants from entering via Mexico.