Trump Says He’d Use Police, National Guard And Possibly The Military To Expel Immigrants

Ariana Figueroa, New Jersey Monitor

Former President Donald Trump in his second term would carry out mass deportations of undocumented immigrants by utilizing local law enforcement, the National Guard and potentially the U.S. military, according to a lengthy interview he conducted with Time magazine.

“When we talk military, generally speaking, I talk National Guard,” the presumptive 2024 GOP nominee for president said in an interview that published Tuesday.

Trump has vowed that on his first day in office, he plans to roll out a massive deportation effort reminiscent of an immigration crackdown that took place in the 1950s.

“I would have no problem using the military, per se,” he said. “We have to have law and order in our country. And whichever gets us there, but I think the National Guard will do the job.”

The interviewer, Time magazine national politics reporter Eric Cortellessa, asked how Trump could justify using the military, given the Posse Comitatus Act, an 1878 law that removed the military from civil law enforcement. “Well, these aren’t civilians,” Trump responded. “These are people that aren’t legally in our country.”

The Biden campaign put out a statement following the interview that slammed Trump’s comments, arguing his responses would reflect an authoritarian second term, and calling him a “dictator.”

“In his own words, he is promising to rule as a dictator on ‘day one,’ use the military against the American people, punish those who stand against him, condone violence done on his behalf, and put his own revenge and retribution ahead of what is best for America,” James Singera spokesperson for the Biden campaign said in a statement. “Trump is a danger to the Constitution and a threat to our democracy.”

The campaign made no rebuttal in that statement of Trump’s remarks about deportation.

Trump cited using the National Guard in Minneapolis in 2020. However, it was not Trump but Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz who activated the National Guard in response to massive protests after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd.

Floyd, a Black man, died when Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin was convicted of murder in 2022.

“We will be using local law enforcement,” Trump said, adding that he wants special immunity for police from prosecution.

“And we have to give the police back the power and respect that they deserve,” he said. “Now, there will be some mistakes, and there are certain bad people and that’s a terrible thing. And you know, police are being prosecuted all the time. And we want to give them immunity from prosecution if they’re doing their job.”

Trump said he would create funding incentives for local and state police departments to take part in deportations.

“Well, there’s a possibility that some won’t want to participate, and they won’t partake in the riches, you know,” Trump said.

He’s likely to face pushback from Democratic-led states and municipalities, as well as legal challenges.

Trump did not go into detail about how much money he would request from Congress for his deportation plans. The control of Congress, now split between Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate, also could shift after this fall’s elections.

Trump added that he would not rule out building mass detention centers to carry out mass deportations.

“It’s possible that we’ll do it to an extent, but we shouldn’t have to do very much of it, because we’re going to be moving them out as soon as we get to it,” Trump said.

Those policies are likely to face legal challenges, and Trump said he would follow any ruling from the Supreme Court, where he picked three of the nine justices, solidifying a conservative court for decades.

“I have great respect for the Supreme Court,” he said.

Even though Trump also promised mass deportations in his first term, those first four years had fewer deportations than the first term of the Obama administration.

In the first four years of the Obama administration, there were more than 1.5 million non-citizens deported and the first Trump administration deported more than 1.2 million non-citizens, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration authorized the public health tool Title 42 and expelled more than 2 million migrants from claiming asylum.

New Jersey Monitor is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Jersey Monitor maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Terrence T. McDonald for questions: info@newjerseymonitor.com. Follow New Jersey Monitor on Facebook and Twitter.

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