Trump plans sweeping undocumented immigrant roundups, detention camps

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, if re-elected in 2024, would expand his first-term immigration crackdown to include sweeping roundups of people who would be held in large camps to await deportation, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The report was based on interviews with several advisers, including Stephen Miller, who oversaw Trump’s first-term immigration policies, the Times said.

It described Trump’s plans as “an assault on immigration on a scale unseen in modern American history” and said it aimed to deport millions of people every year, including those who have been settled in the United States for decades.

Trump is the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and he likely will face U.S. President Joe Biden in a rematch of their 2020 contest.

Trump’s election campaign did not respond to a request for comment. The White House declined to comment.

Trump did not mention the idea of establishing large camps to detain people in a campaign speech on Saturday in Claremont, New Hampshire.

The Biden-Harris campaign in a statement called Trump’s immigration plans “extreme, racist, cruel policies” that are “meant to stoke fear and divide us, betting a scared nation is how he wins this election.”

Among other measures, Trump would resurrect his ban on the entry of people from certain Muslim-majority countries, the newspaper said.

He would revive other hardline policies, including a COVID-19 era rejection of asylum claims, although this time the refusals would be based on assertions that migrants carry other infectious diseases, it continued.

Trump is looking to speed deportations through a massive expansion of a form of removal that does not require due process hearings, the newspaper said.

To aid U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in sweeping roundups of undocumented people, Trump would reassign federal agents and deputize local police and National Guard troops volunteered by Republican-run states, the report said.

He would ease the strain on ICE detention facilities by building huge camps to hold detainees while their cases are processed as they await deportation.

To underwrite the massive operation if Congress refused, Trump would redirect Pentagon funds as he did with his border wall in his first term, the Times said.

“We’ll stop the invasion on our southern border and begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” Trump said on Saturday.

In September, Trump told a rally in Iowa the deportation operation would be along the lines of the “Eisenhower model,” the Times said. That was a 1954 campaign named after an ethnic slur – Operation Wetback – to detain and expel Mexican immigrants.

Other parts of Trump’s plan call for screening visa applicants for ideological views, revoking the temporary protected status of people from certain countries deemed unsafe, and trying to end the citizenship birthright for babies born in the United States to undocumented parents, the newspaper said. 

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Updated: 12 Nov 2023, 08:19 AM IST

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