Trump plans biggest ever mass deportation if he is elected
Mexican immigrants caged and shipped to the border in 1954. The racist-named "Operation Wetback" carried out in 1954 was the largest mass deportation of people from the U.S. up until that time. The Trump plan would dwarf the crimes against humanity committed at that time under President Eisenhower. | U.S. Border Patrol Museum, Public Domain

Trump and the MAGA fascists surrounding him are vowing to conduct the largest deportation of immigrants in U.S. history if he’s elected in November. Mass deportations would be the means for a sweeping assault on democracy and imposition of police-state dictatorial rule.

The neo-fascist Stephen Miller, architect of immigration policies during Trump’s first term, drafted the terrifying new Trump 2025 immigration plans, which the New York Times called “an assault on immigration on a scale unseen in modern American history.”

The plans, elaborated in detail, will start on “day one” of Trump’s presidency, presumably as the self-declared dictator. An army of MAGA loyalists deployed across the government, particularly the Department of Homeland Security, and the military will implement them to overcome institutional resistance.

Trump would restore policies from his first term, including an expanded Muslim Ban, emergency authority under Title 42 to restart the “Remain in Mexico” policy, cruel family separation and imprisonment of children, construction of the border wall, and attempts to end DACA.

But the policies revolve around deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, whom Trump refers to as “foreign national invaders.” The plan would dwarf mass deportations under “Operation Wetback,” (the racist slur for Mexican migrants) during the Eisenhower administration.

But this is just the start. The larger goal is to use mass deportations as the pretext to impose a fascist police-state dictatorship and Christian white nationalist theocracy, terrorizing the anti-MAGA majority opposition and smashing democratic rights.

“What we would expect to see in a second Trump presidency is governance by force,” Deana El-Mallawany of Protect Democracy told Ron Brownstein. “This is his retribution agenda. He is looking at ways to aggrandize and consolidate power within the presidency to do these extreme things, and going after marginalized groups first, like migrants and the homeless, is the way to expand that power, normalize it, and then wield it more broadly against everybody in our democracy.”

For example, Trump says he will revoke birthright citizenship to any person born on U.S. soil granted under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment was adopted in 1868 following the Civil War and negated the Supreme Court’s notorious Dred Scott decision that enslaved people and free African Americans were not entitled to U.S. citizenship.

Trump vowed to revoke birthright citizenship during his 2016 campaign but never implemented it. ICE would be directed to arrest and detain anyone born in the U.S. whose parents are undocumented. Legal, immigration, and civil rights groups would challenge the executive order immediately. The MAGA-dominated U.S. Supreme Court, already engaged in a Constitutional coup overturning decades of precedent most notably Roe vs. Wade, could “reinterpret” the Amendment.

The Trump administration intends to conduct expulsions bypassing the right of immigrants to due process under legal “expedited removal” authorization, setting a precedent to eliminate due process rights entirely, including for citizens.

Implementing mass deportations would cause mammoth social upheaval and economic turmoil. The Trump administration and right-wing media would conduct an around-the-clock anti-immigrant hate and hysteria campaign against foreign “vermin,” “rapists,” “drug cartels,” “terrorists,” “dangerous criminals,” and the “mentally ill” who are threatening the country.

Mexican cooperation unlikely

The plan is unlikely to gain the cooperation of Mexico, our number one trading partner, or other countries where Trump plans to send planefuls of immigrants daily. The policies would intensely strain U.S. foreign relations.

The administration would employ existing laws and statutes to legally justify their actions, and Trump would turn the military and federal bureaucracy into a mass round-up and expulsion machine.

The plan may seem far-fetched, but voters must take Trump, the mass MAGA movement, the fascist billionaires backing him, and a MAGA-dominated U.S. Supreme Court very seriously. Trump continuously breached the Constitution, laws, and democratic norms in his first term and whipped up anti-immigrant hysteria and acts of hate. He would go further in his second term.

Rounding up 11 million immigrants, the largest deportation ever, would require an enormous federal workforce and military deployment, and anti-immigrant terror to force millions to self-deport. Heavily Latino, Asian, Arab, and Caribbean communities, legal or undocumented residents, would live in terror. The deportation force would break down doors, indiscriminately detain, conduct large-scale community, school, and workplace raids, and trample on the rule of law.

“Removing 500,000 to 1 million migrants a year could require as many as 100,000–150,000 deputized enforcement officers, says James Houser, a former chief of staff at ICE under Biden. Staffing the internment camps and constant flights that Miller is contemplating could require 50,000 more people.

“If you want to deport a million a year—and I’m a Navy officer—you are talking a mobilization the size of a military deployment,” said Houser.

Trump would reassign most ICE, DEA, FBI, ATF agents, and U.S. Marshalls. And it’s not inconceivable that fascist militias, who have eagerly descended on the border to “stop the invasion,” would be mobilized, either officially or unofficially.

“Then, in terms of personnel, you go to red state governors, and you say, give us your national guard. We will deputize them as immigration enforcement officers, Miller told right-wing talk show host Charlie Kirk.

A federalized army of red-state National Guards would be assigned to round-up operations in red states and sent to blue states and Democratic-controlled cities, especially Latino-majority communities. 14 GOP governors in red states are already sending National Guard troops to Texas.

Trump would use the private red-state military force to smash the anticipated massive resistance in both red and blue states and terrify the anti-MAGA majority into submission.

Miller claims that Trump will use existing laws to declare an emergency and marshal the entire government and military resources. These include emergency powers under the National Emergencies Act (NEA), the little-known 1789 Alien Enemies Act to deport immigrants with criminal records and suspected gang members, and the Insurrection Act of 1877.

“The NEA gives the President near-total discretion to declare a national emergency; there are no substantive criteria that must be met. The declaration then unlocks enhanced powers contained in more than 130 statutory provisions scattered across the U.S. Code,” according to Elizabeth Goltein of the Brennan Center for Justice.

Would invoke the Insurrection Act of 1877

Experts say Trump could legally invoke the Insurrection Act of 1877, which he would use to declare a national emergency and suppress any mass protest movement. “The Insurrection Act makes the President the sole judge of whether a given situation warrants invoking the act. In other words, an insurrection is whatever a president says an insurrection is,” said Joseph Nunn, also of the Brennan Center for Justice.

In defending his immigration plans if he is re-elected, the criminal Trump has pointed to the alleged “success” of the racist-named “Operation Wetback” in 1954. | Charles Krupa/AP

Such emergency declarations are still a constitutional gray area and testing them gives the MAGA-dominated U.S. Supreme Court the ability to legally rubberstamp them. Without limits and with Trump’s record of breaching Constitutional norms, “faked emergencies” allow Trump to assume broader powers and impose greater repression.

Emergency declarations have led to some of the greatest violations of the Constitution and the most shameful chapters in U.S. history, including the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the CIA’s torture of detainees at black sites after 9/11.

Rounded-up immigrants would be detained in abandoned properties like malls before being shipped to mass concentration camps along the border to await expulsion. Trump would divert funds from the military through executive orders to pay for the camps as he did with his border wall.

“So, you go around the country arresting illegal immigrants in large-scale raids, you have to have somewhere to put them,” Miller told Kirk. “So, you create this efficiency by having these standing facilities where planes are moving off the runway constantly — probably military aircraft, some existing DHS assets — and that’s how you’re able to scale.”

Imprisoning millions of immigrants in concentration camps sets a precedent to round up homeless people and the political opposition, starting with socialists, communists, and other progressives, ideas Trump and those around him have espoused.

The plan designates drug cartels as unlawful enemy combatants, vastly militarizing the border and laying the basis for a military invasion of Mexico. The Navy and Coast Guard are authorized to set up blockades in the Caribbean to “stop drug smugglers.”

Trump vows to end Biden’s humanitarian “parole” programs that have allowed 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela with U.S. sponsors to enter the U.S. and obtain work permits for up to two years.

He would end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations, a program that suspends deportation and offers work permits to hundreds of thousands of immigrants from 16 countries experiencing humanitarian or economic catastrophes, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, Sudan, El Salvador, and Venezuela.

Trump tried to end TPS, but the courts slowed him. A federal appeals court in September 2020 finally allowed Trump to proceed, but Biden restored and expanded the program.

The plan suspends refugee and resettlement programs and promotes “merit-based immigration,” barring immigrants, especially from the Global South. The administration would suspend asylum and resettlement claims under the Title 42 emergency. Trump would establish an ideological and political litmus test for entry into the U.S. and bar the entry of immigrants who attended “pro-Palestinian,” “anti-Israel” or other protests.

Trump is loudly broadcasting his plan starting on “day one.” The threat to democracy has never been greater. The anti-MAGA majority senses the danger. The challenge before us is to mobilize every pro-democracy voter to the polls in November to deliver a thunderous defeat to Trump and his fascist minions.

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John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He is active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, where he attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs. He currently lives in Chicago.