Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has final removal orders for approximately 1 million immigrants living in the us illegally.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday that raids to capture and deport large numbers of undocumented people living in the country would begin "shortly", while pro-immigrant activists promised that their communities would be " lists "when the agents arrive.
Trump installed Cucinelli as DHS' latest immigration head in May, his USCIS division works alongside acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan to manage decisions related to asylum, asylum-seekers and those seeking US citizenship.
The Trump administration's top official at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said immigration authorities are ready to identify, detain and eventually deport approximately a million undocumented immigrants with pending removal orders. "They've been all the way through the due process and have final removal orders", Cuccinelli said during an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation".
Cuccinelli backed up Trump's deportation plan, saying the American people should not be surprised by such removal operations, and the ICE migrant roundups have simply been "held up" by Washington political games.
"I'm just pointing out that the pool of those with final removal orders ... is enormous. And they're looking forward to just getting back to doing their job".
Deportations were highest under former President Barack Obama, whose administration oversaw the removal of around 410,000 undocumented immigrants in 2012.
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's statement.
He noted that the border detainment facilities, recently criticized by members of the far Left, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, who likened them to Nazi concentration camps, were only being used because the ICE facilities were already maxed out.
Under the operation - which ICE said would send a "powerful message" of deterrence to would-be migrants in Central America considering journeying towards the U.S. -Mexico border - authorities had been expected to carry out a series of raids in major U.S. cities to apprehend and deport families who received an order of removal from a judge. "So the whole pipeline is clogged, and ICE is backing up the Border Patrol in the southwest border".