Recent news reports have revealed details of plans by Donald Trump to carry out unprecedented attacks on the rights of immigrant workers and their families in the event of his reelection and return to the White House in January 2025.
An extensive report published November 11 by the New York Times—based in part on an interview with the former president’s fascist adviser Stephen Miller—said Trump would revive anti-immigrant policies he carried out in 2017-2020 and extend them to include rounding up millions of undocumented workers, holding them in detention camps and deporting them from the US using expedited removal procedures.
During a rally in Dubuque, Iowa on September 20, Trump said that he would “follow the Dwight D. Eisenhower model,” and carry out “the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.” In other words, Trump intends to surpass the Eisenhower policy called “Operation Wetback,” which used military-style tactics to round up and expel from the US more than 1 million Mexican immigrants in 1954, some of whom were US citizens.
The plans to deport millions of people each year are consistent with Trump’s xenophobic, racist and Hitler-style rants in his campaign speeches regarding “criminals, people from jails, from mental institutions, terrorists,” who are “poisoning the blood of our country.”
According to the Times report, “The constellation of Mr. Trump’s 2025 plans amounts to an assault on immigration on a scale unseen in modern American history. Millions of undocumented immigrants would be barred from the country or uprooted from it years or even decades after settling here.”
The plans would involve a significant expansion of the state apparatus used to hunt down, detain and deport immigrants. In addition to expanding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) police force to carry out raids, Trump plans to “reassign other federal agents and deputize local police officers and National Guard soldiers voluntarily contributed by Republican-run states,” according to the Times.
Other measures being prepared by Trump’s 2024 campaign include:
- Canceling the visas of foreign students who have participated in pro-Palestinian protests
- Expanding ideological screening of visa applicants to block those whom Trump and his advisers consider to have “undesirable attitudes”
- Removing those with “temporary protected status” that currently allows them to live and work in the US because they are from countries deemed unsafe
- Removing those who have been allowed to live in the US temporarily for humanitarian reasons.
Trump has renewed his pledge to issue an executive order to end the birthright citizenship that is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, passed in the years following the American Civil War. This law guarantees the fundamental democratic right of citizenship to every child born within the US, regardless of the immigration status of his or her parents.
In a speech posted to his social media accounts on May 30, Trump said, “As part of my plan to secure the border, on day one of my new term in office, I will sign an executive order making clear to federal agencies that under the correct interpretation of the law, going forward, the future children of illegal aliens will not receive US citizenship.”
Among the policies to be revived from the first Trump administration are banning entry to the US of people from specific Muslim-majority nations, reimposing the Title 42 COVID-19 public health emergency provision to deny asylum claims—on the pretext that migrants carry infectious diseases like tuberculosis—and resuming the construction of the border wall between the US and Mexico.
In his interview with the Times, Stephen Miller said that Trump would seek to implement his anti-immigrant agenda based on existing statutes and without seeking congressional legislation. Miller added that Trump’s team expected the policies to be challenged in court, but said the plan would include so many different moves, in the form of a “blitz,” that immigrant rights lawyers would be overwhelmed.
Miller stressed, “Any activists who doubt President Trump’s resolve in the slightest are making a drastic error: Trump will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown. The immigration legal activists won’t know what’s happening.”
Miller was the architect of the anti-immigration program in Trump’s first term and he is “expected to serve in a senior role in a second administration,” according to the Times.
Having learned from the legal obstacles Trump encountered in 2017-20, Miller will seek in his new plan to exploit important changes in the legal and political environment that facilitate a blanket assault on the rights of immigrant workers. These include the fact that during his four years in the White House, Trump appointed right-wing federal appellate court judges and Supreme Court justices whose views are generally aligned with the fascistic transformation of the Republican Party.
For example, in his previous effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects from deportation and grants work permits to people who came to the US as children without documentation, Trump was blocked by a 5-4 majority within the Supreme Court. But as the Times notes, “A few months after the DACA ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and Mr. Trump replaced her with a sixth conservative, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.”
Meanwhile, as was demonstrated in the January 6, 2021 coup attempt orchestrated by Trump from the White House, a majority of Republicans in Congress support the fascist ex-president’s agenda, and they continue to claim that the 2020 election was stolen by the Democrats and Biden was not legitimately elected.
Most important, however, is the fact that the Democrats and President Biden, in particular, have adopted significant portions of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda. This includes an extension of the border wall with Mexico and the crackdown by the Department of Homeland Security on asylum seekers following the lifting of the Title 42 emergency last May.
With the support of the corporate media, the Biden administration has fully embraced the Republican mantra of a “crisis at the southern border” and worked to implement a bipartisan attack on the rights of migrant workers and their families.
Facilitating the claim that the lifting of Title 42 restrictions would lead to a “flood of illegal immigrants into the US,” Biden mobilized 1,500 troops to the border and threatened workers, most of whom fled countries in Latin America where conditions created by US imperialism made life unbearable, with expedited removal.