NOEL KING, HOST:
Last night in a tweet, President Trump appeared to promise a new crackdown on people who are in this country illegally. He wrote, and I quote, "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," end quote. ICE, of course, is Immigration and Customs Enforcement. NPR's White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez has been following all of this.
FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hi. How are you?
KING: Good, thanks. So is the president suggesting some sort of change in policy here?
ORDOÑEZ: It is a new - it has always been a priority, but this is a new push. This is definitely an effort to kind of meet some of the frustration that President Trump has had for a while about the increasing numbers of immigrants coming in. His new acting director of U.S. intelligence - pardon me - U.S. ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Mark Morgan has walked in the door, saying that he is going to start going after some of the families of these immigrants who have been coming across the border.
KING: One of the things that's interesting is, generally, ICE prefers to keep these kind of operations secret, don't they? It just makes it easier, I would imagine, to find people if they don't know you're coming.
ORDOÑEZ: Absolutely. This is the kind of thing that usually - that you don't talk about. You don't want to let those who are going to be targeted know. But also, let's also remember that this is a campaign. There's a campaign kicking off. There is supporters that Trump wants to meet. Look. When he started his campaign back in 2016, he used immigration to launch his campaign. He is launching his reelection campaign now, and here's another avenue for him to kind of give information for his supporters, to kind of excite his base with an issue that has always been his bread and butter.
KING: Yeah, you're making a good point. The president is relaunching his - is launching his reelection campaign today, holding a big rally in Orlando to kick it off. We've been reporting on this all morning. So it seems to you as though this tweet is part of that.
ORDOÑEZ: It seems extremely likely that it is. There is no coincidence of the timing here. This is an issue, as I said, that President Trump has always gone back to in the times that he is frustrated, that he is looking to kind of garner excitement among those who support him. He is in Orlando. He wants something that is going to excite his base.
Let's also remember that he has been very frustrated by the immigration numbers that have been happening. They have been going up, hence why we got into this battle with Mexico in recent days and almost struck a trade war. Now he has a new ICE director who is promising to do more on immigration. I was just talking with the White House today, who told me that there are a million immigrants who are in the country who have orders of deportation who've not been removed.
KING: So, Franco, just very briefly, what does this mean for deportations? They going to increase?
ORDOÑEZ: It means a lot more deportations. There is hope that Mexico will help out. And now they'll have more bed space to put these new people.
KING: NPR's White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez.
Franco, thanks so much.
ORDOÑEZ: Thanks for having me.
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