It’s always been Donald Trump’s dream: to deport the largest possible number of undocumented migrants. During his presidency, 2017-2021, he deported hundreds of thousands.
And if he’s reelected in 2024, he plans to deport millions more, create large detention camps and launch massive round ups, according to a New York Times investigation.
Trump’s plans for 2025 include “preparing to round up undocumented people already in the United States on a vast scale and detain them in sprawling camps while they wait to be expelled,” the report says. “He plans to scour the country for unauthorized immigrants and deport people by the millions per year.”
The newspaper’s report – based on interviews with Trump advisers – also noted plans for fast-track deportations known as “expedited removal,” terminating DACA (the program that protects undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children) reviving Title 42 (which blocks entries based on medical reasons), slashing the number of US visas issued and tightening US laws on asylum and immigrant rights
This is no secret.
Since Trump launched his presidential candidacy in 2015 he has made harsh and sometimes false statements about migrants, like when he said that Mexican migrants “are bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” And lately he has stepped up his rhetoric against undocumented migrants.
At a campaign rally on November 8 – the day of the second debate among the other Republican presidential hopefuls – Trump announced the new goals of his immigration policies if he returns to the White House.
“On Day 1 I will terminate every open-borders policy of the Biden administration, and we will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” Trump declared. He got a strong round of applause from the crowd in Hialeah, a city in South Florida that is 95 percent Hispanic, according to the US Census Bureau. The area is also home to thousands of undocumented migrants who sustain the economy of the Miami region.
Despite Trump’s anti-immigration declarations, which any other time would have turned off Hispanic voters, the former presidents remains popular in polls. Among Hispanics, President Joe Biden barely edges out Trump – 50% to 40% – in an average of 12 national polls this year, according to The New York Times.
But his new and more powerful anti-immigration message, which seems to appeal to his supporters, could hurt him in the 2024 presidential election. That’s why his campaign has downplayed his immigration policy plans, widely reported in the news media, as “speculative,” “theoretical” and “merely suggestions.”
The truth is that Trump has not changed much, and has always wanted to deport millions of people. Few remember that after Trump ordered a bodyguard to expel me from a news conference in Iowa on August 25 2015 and told me to “go back to Univision,” he allowed me to return and ask some questions. Here is a slightly edited version:
-How are you going to deport eleven million undocumented immigrants? By bus? Are you going to bring the army?
-Let me tell you. We’re going to do it in a very humane fashion…We have tremendous crime, we have tremendous problems…Those people are out. They’re going to be out so fast your head will spin. Remember, you used the word “illegal” immigrant?
-No, I did not use that word.
-Well, you should use the word because that’s what the definition is.
-No human being is illegal.
-Okay, well, when they cross the border, from the legal standpoint, they are illegal immigrants when they don’t have their papers
-How do you deport eleven million?
-You know what it’s called? Management.
No matter how Trump describes “management,” it would be impossible to deport 11 million undocumented migrants. And trying would cause much pain and suffering. His plans to deport huge numbers if he returns to the White House are also a serious threat to the Hispanic community. The majority of those deported will be Latin Americans.
Caution. Those are Trump’s plans, and we already know that he often does not carry them out, like his plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico and making Mexico pay for it. He did neither.
But all voters have the right to know before an election what the candidates want to do about them, their children, their neighbors and friends, their workmates and their country. Now no one can say they didn’t know.