ICE to launch mass raids targeting undocumented families on Sunday

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By Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff and Rich Schapiro  with NBC News Politics
Image: ICE Arrests Undocumented Immigrants In NYC
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrest an undocumented Mexican immigrant during a raid in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City on April 11, 2018.   -   Copyright  John Moore Getty Images file

Immigration authorities are planning to launch on Sunday a massive round-up targeting undocumented immigrant families that have received deportation orders, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The raids will take place in several cities across the country and could target up to 2,000 immigrants facing deportation orders, the sources said.

Word of the planned round-up comes four days after President Donald Trump said ICE would soon deport "millions" of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

"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 Monday night, less than 24 hours before officially opening his re-election bid with a rally in Orlando, Florida.

Two Department of Homeland Security officials told NBC News at the time that the "millions" figure the president used in his tweet was likely overblown.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokespersons did not immediately return a request for comment on Friday.

In recent years, deportations have dropped because U.S. authorities have run out of space to hold immigrants ordered to be shipped out of the country.

A sharp rise in migrants apprehended at the border has resulted in a lack of available bed space at ICE detention centers, leaving authorities with nowhere to hold any additional immigrants facing deportation orders.

Deportations peaked at around 400,000 a year at the beginning of this decade and decreased to about 250,000 or fewer undocumented immigrants annually in recent years, according to ICE statistics.