Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed to reimpose and expand a travel ban that targeted several majority-Muslim countries and said he would shift parts of federal law enforcement to focus on immigration if he is elected to a second White House term.
Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, appeared in Dubuque, Iowa, for a speech to supporters and focused at length on his plans for curbing immigration if he is elected in 2024.
Trump, who in 2016 campaigned on a hard-line immigration agenda and reshaped GOP orthodoxy on the issue, pledged to go even further if he secures another term.
The former president vowed to “carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American History,” according to prepared remarks shared with The Hill.
He said he would invoke the Alien Enemies Act, a 1798 law that was part of the Alien and Sedition Acts that allowed the deportation of any immigrant who hailed from a country at war with the United States.
Trump said he would use the law to remove “all known or suspected gang members, drug dealers or cartel members from the United States.”
Trump also said he would shift portions of federal law enforcement, including those at the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to focus on immigration enforcement, according to prepared remarks.
The former president also said he would deploy troops to the southern border if needed, and deploy the Navy to impose a blockade in the region to combat the spread of fentanyl.
Trump’s immigration plans have been criticized by Democrats and some Republicans, who argue that they are cruel and ineffective. They also say that Trump’s use of the Alien Enemies Act would be an overreach of executive power.
However, Trump’s immigration plans are popular with his base of supporters, who see him as a strong leader who is willing to take tough action on illegal immigration.
It remains to be seen whether Trump will be able to implement his immigration plans if he is elected president. He would face legal challenges and opposition from Congress. However, his plans are sure to be a major issue in the 2024 presidential election.