Trump Promises Largest Mass Deportations of Migrants if Elected

Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, has vowed that he will deliver what he called the “largest mass deportation” in the history of the U.S. if he were to be elected president again in November.

Trump has spoken often about the deportation agenda he has for his time in the White House, as he would target millions of people who are in this country illegally.

During a recent interview he gave with TIME Magazine, he outlined how he would leverage the military, the National Guard and local law enforcement personnel to carry out the plan he has.

In many ways, the plan is similar to what was called “Operation Wetback” in 1954. Then, under the direction of President Dwight Eisenhower, the country carried out dragnet-like sweeps that ultimately deported more than 1 million migrants from the country.

Trump’s campaign hasn’t outlined the specific details of what different resources it would require to identify, find, detain and then deport as many as the “nearly 20 million” people who it says are in this country illegally today.

Former officials with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement told The New York Post recently, though, that such an operation would require a huge expansion of ICE, along with collaboration from the Department of State and a significant increase in funding that comes from Congress.

While some people have tried to downplay how many illegal immigrants are in this country, Eric Ruark, the director of research at NumbersUSA, told The Post that the Trump campaign’s claim of 20 million illegal immigrants is “not an unreasonable estimate,” given how many illegal immigrants have entered the country during the Biden administration.

As he said:

“There’s probably between 15 and 20 million, given the number of people we’ve seen coming over.”

Those comments contrast the official estimate that the U.S. Census Bureau released that there are currently 11 million illegal immigrants living in America.

Tom Homan, who served as ICE’s acting director during the Trump administration, said the agency has “systems in place that are very good at identifying people.” However, how fast deportations could actually be carried out would depend on what resources Trump would have at his disposal.

As Homan said:

“A lot of that is going to be up to Congress. … We need officers, we need detention beds, we need transportation contracts … because [we would have] more flights heading out of the country and more bus removals down to the border.

“We would still prioritize criminals and national security threats first. They are the most dangerous for the country. But, I would say no one is off the table. If you’re in this country illegally … then we’ll remove you.”

According to Jon Feere, who served as the chief of staff of ICE during the Trump administration, the agency “no doubt” would benefit from having many more “officers, agents and detention space.” He added that if Trump were to be elected, he “undoubtedly” would make that very clear to Congress.