Anticipating a second term in the White House, former President Donald Trump has already begun drawing up sweeping and aggressive immigration policies intended to not only stop the huge influx of people into the United States, but also ejecting millions of those who've already made it across the border -- even decades ago.
The plans were outlined in a Saturday New York Times report based on interviews with Stephen Miller and other Trump advisors. The Times characterized the plans as "an assault on immigration on a scale unseen in modern American history."
Trump has foreshadowed the plan on the campaign trail. In September, he told Iowans, "Following the Eisenhower model, we will carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American history," a reference to Ike's 1954 expulsion drive that deported some 1.1 million Mexicans -- under the decidedly non-PC name of "Operation Wetback."
Here are key elements of Trump's plans:
- Muslim immigration ban. Trump would reinstate a version of a ban he created via executive order, which barred travel to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Biden nixed the ban on his first day in office.
- Renewed use of health policy to block asylum claims. During his term, Trump restricted asylum claims under the pretense that is was necessary to restrain Covid-19. Next time around, he plans to point to tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
- Mass deportations. A second Trump administration would search the country for illegal immigrants, with a goal of deporting millions of them every year. This effort would be facilitated by "an enormous expansion of a form of removal that does not require due process hearings," the Times reports. He would also shift federal agents from other tasks, deputize local cops and National Guard soldiers deployed by Republican governors.
- Huge detention camps. With Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities overwhelmed, Trump would build enormous camps to hold migrants while their cases navigate the system. To create the camps, Trump plans to bypass Congress and redirect Pentagon money to the purpose, much as he did to scrape up money for border wall construction.
- Birthright citizenship clampdown. Trump would seek to terminate the granting of citizenship to babies born to illegal immigrants.
- Expanded ideological screening. Visa applicants would face heightened scrutiny of their views.
The Biden-Harris campaign quickly condemned the plans. “Mass detention camps, attempts to deny children born here citizenship, uprooting families with mass deportations — this is the horrifying reality that awaits the American people if Donald Trump is allowed anywhere near the Oval Office again,” said spokesman Ammar Moussa. "These extreme racist, cruel policies are meant to stoke fear and divide us, betting a scared nation is how he wins this election."
If you've been vocal in your support of Palestinians on here, god bless you, but if you plan on not voting for Biden in 2024, just know that if Trump wins, he's going to raid your homes, throw you in concentration camps, and have you deported.— I Smoked Lauren Boebert's Tiddies At The Theater (@BlackKnight10k) November 12, 2023
However, Biden is facing growing criticism of his immigration policies from within his own party, with New York City Mayor Eric Adams frequently and pointedly condemning White House negligence in the face of a migrant crisis that has overwhelmed New York City.
Immigration is playing a growing role in shaping the perspectives of 2024 voters. Reuters/Ipsos polling found the share of Americans who say immigration is their top concern grew from 8% in September to 14% in October. In September, 54% agreed that "immigration is making life harder for native-born Americans."