Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday warned her caucus about President Donald Trump’s planned immigration raids this weekend, urging members to spread information about unauthorized immigrants’ legal rights.
Speaking to a closed-door whips meeting, Pelosi urged members to spread the party’s “know your rights” campaign, according to two people in the room. Democrats took the same approach earlier this year, when faced with Department of Homeland Security’s initial threat of mass deportation raids.
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Those mass arrests, first reported by the New York Times, are expected to begin Sunday in nearly a dozen metro areas. The raids — which are backed by Trump — had initially been delayed after disagreements within the administration.
Pelosi also told members that she planned to reach out to religious leaders to encourage them to oppose the efforts, as she did last month when Trump first threatened the raids, one person said. Pelosi also spoke to Trump by phone last month and urged him to call off his plans.
Democrats have sharply criticized the White House’s plans, which would target not only individuals who failed to appear in court, but also any unauthorized immigrants who happen to be at the scene — possibly affecting family members or other members who were not originally targets.
Pelosi later told reporters that she thinks evangelical groups played a significant role in Trump’s decision to call off the initial raids and she hopes they’ll chime in again.
“They were very concerned that this goes too far because these raids were not what they signed up for with President Trump. And I think their calls to the president made a difference,” Pelosi said. “Hopefully the president will think again about it or these groups will weigh in once again.”
“Families belong together, every person in America has rights,” she said.