President Trump announced Saturday that a planned mass roundup of illegal immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is being delayed for two weeks, in the hope that a bipartisan solution to the border crisis can be reached.
“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” he tweeted.
“If not, Deportations start!” he added.
The tweet came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, called Trump Friday and urged him to call off the raids, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News.
The Washington Post reported Friday that ICE was expected to target 2,000 families in up to 10 cities across the U.S., after Trump had announced earlier this week that ICE will “begin the process of removing millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”
ICE said in a statement Friday that “due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations.”
However, it said that ICE prioritizes arresting and removing those illegal immigrants “who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Despite fierce opposition from local Democratic politicians in targeted cities, Trump had stood by the plan earlier Saturday, saying that "everybody who came into the country illegally will be brought out of the country very legally."
He also dismissed the Democratic opposition on Saturday, saying they were mostly "high crime" cities.
"Well some cities are going to fight it. But if you notice they're generally high crime cities, if you look at Chicago they're fighting it. If you look at other cities they're fighting it. Many of those cities are high crime cities and they're sanctuary cities," he said.
It was not immediately clear what form the negotiations would take, but the postponement comes amid an escalating crisis at the border, with more than 140,000 migrants encountered or apprehended at the border in May.
Earlier this month, Trump announced that he had secured a deal with Mexico that would see the U.S. expand its policy of returning asylum applicants to Mexico while claims are processed, instead of applicants being released into the U.S.
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved Trump's $4.6 billion request for funding to tackle the humanitarian crisis, but only after the inclusion of a provision that blocks money from being diverted to funding for a wall on the border, and after Republicans dropped a request for more detention beds.
Fox News' Chad Pergram and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.