(CNN) – President Donald Trump backed down from his effort to add a citizenship question on the 2020 census, but he’s moving ahead with a plan to deport non-citizens from the country.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is expected to start raids on Sunday.
A senior official said about 2,000 people are targeted.
"I've had kids come up to me at forums with tears in their eyes,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. “They're afraid to go to school. They're afraid to come home and find that their parents have been deported."
The ICE operation will take place in some of the country’s biggest cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
“If you are come to this position, you’ve been here years, you’ve gone through a court system, you’ve been found that you have to be deported, you have to follow the rule of law,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House minority leader.
Critics say there are better ways to address the situation.
"We can both secure the border, be compassionate, and bring people into the American way of life through a pathway to citizenship, and do that in a compassionate way, and also a way that makes us economically competitive," said Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democratic presidential candidate.
The raids were postponed last month, with Trump saying he was giving both parties time to come up with a solution.
"We are not participating in any raids. We haven't been asked to participate in any raids, and certainly we are obviously a pro-immigrant city," said Francis Suarez, the Republican mayor of Miami. "What I hope is that the people that they're focused on are people that are very dangerous, because those people obviously shouldn’t be in our community to begin with."
Trump has deported fewer people than his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
ICE statistics say more than 256,000 were deported in the 2018 fiscal year.
In the 2012 fiscal year, more than 400,000 were taken out of the country.