President Donald Trump said on Monday that US authorities would begin next week removing millions of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump tweeted, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. “They will be removed as fast as they come in,” he said. He did not offer specifics.
There are an estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally, mainly from Mexico and Central America.
Under a deal reached earlier this month, Mexico has agreed to take Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the United States until their cases are heard in US courts.
The agreement, which included Mexico pledging to deploy National Guard troops to stop Central American immigrants from reaching the US border, averted a Trump threat to hit Mexican imports with tariffs.
Trump also said in the tweet that Guatemala “is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement.”
US Vice President Mike Pence suggested last week that Guatemala could receive asylum seekers from its neighbours as a so-called safe third country.
Details of the plan have not been made public, and Guatemala has not publicly confirmed talks that the US State Department said were taking place in Guatemala on Friday.
Trump’s administration on Monday cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, after Trump blasted the three countries because thousands of their citizens had sought asylum at the US border with Mexico.