WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. President Donald Trump, if re-elected in 2024, would expand his first-term immigration crackdown to include sweeping roundups of undocumented 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, the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, 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 (ICE) 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.
Trump hinted at his plan at a September rally in Iowa, said the newspaper, which quoted him as saying that he would conduct “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history” along the lines of the “Eisenhower model.”
That was a 1954 campaign named after an ethnic slur – Operation Wetback – to detain and expel Mexican immigrants.
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Daniel Wallis)