Donald Trump has promised the largest deportation program since President Dwight David Eisenhower ordered mass deportations under Operation Wetback in 1954. This is unlikely to actually happen, mostly for legal reasons, as immediate deportation was the legal standard for illegal aliens arrested in the United States in the 1950s, whether close to the border or in the interior. The legal standard was that an immigration officer determined that you were an alien, and you were then removed. There was no appeal process, no immigration courts, and no judicial review. Currently, illegal aliens arrested in the United States, especially if they have been here over two years, have well-established appellate rights not only in the immigration court system, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), but also can go to Federal court to appeal any decision by an immigration officer. As Michelle Malkin said, it ain’t over until the alien wins.
Now, the Supreme Court has decided that the Expedited Removal statute, which provides for the mostly unappealable removal of aliens within two years of entry, is constitutional, but lower courts have previously ignored Supreme Court decisions in the immigration area, such as Dolly Gee has done with Meese v. Flores. But the two-year limit remains in any event, so there will be no mass deportations without changes in statute to expand Expedited Removal to all illegal aliens.
Which calls into question how Donald Trump will increase deportations. According to his former acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Ken Cuccinelli, Trump himself interfered in DHS operations, prohibiting scheduled raids and other actions to arrest and deport illegal aliens [3:25 into the video: Biden Admin Made It ‘Very Clear’ That It Was Going To ‘Exercise’ An Open Border: Ken Cuccinelli, Fox News/Yahoo News, November 25, 2023].
Tom Homan was the acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under President Trump and talked tough on illegal immigration. Yet when ICE SVU Special Agents-in-Charge attacked President Trump for promising to enforce immigration laws, Homan did nothing to discipline or fire his subordinates who refused to arrest illegal aliens. However, Homan is back claiming that he has been told by President Trump that Homan will lead the effort on deportations, likely as Director of ICE.
Former ICE Director Tom Homan: "I promised President Trump, if he goes back, I go back, and I’m going to run the biggest deportation operation this country has ever seen.” pic.twitter.com/5mJu9wtgVA— BPR based (@DumpstrFireNews) November 7, 2023
Under President Trump, Tom Homan promised mass raids and deportations, but that never happened.
But now Homan is again promising mass deportations, but then he tempered that promise to do only targeted deportations of those ordered removed and criminal aliens. Homan even decried what he called “rounding up illegal aliens,” “neighborhood sweeps” and “mass arrests,” even admitting that under his policy during the Trump Administration nine of ten illegal aliens arrested were criminal aliens, that is, illegal aliens convicted of a criminal offense. Only one of ten illegal aliens arrested was not a specifically targeted arrest.
Homan even brings out the tired bromide of the Left during the Obama Regime that all arrests under his plan will be on a “case-by-case” basis [At 6:25 on the audio: A Country Without Border Security Has No National Security,, The Joe Piscopo Show, November 21, 2023]. One cannot deport 20-30 million illegal aliens on a “case-by-case” basis.
Homan started out in the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as a Border Patrol Agent, then was a Special Agent. He should know better. Raids, sweeps, City Patrol, and Area Control, are well established tactics to find and remove illegal aliens, and to encourage self–deportation. In fact, as Ken Cuccinelli points out above, the Trump Administration deported fewer illegal aliens from the interior than the Obama Regime. And, yes, it is well established that the Obama Regime cooked the books on deportations.
But Cuccinelli is correct: Targeting individual illegal aliens for deportation will not remove enough illegal aliens. With 20-30 million illegal aliens in the United States large numbers need to be deported or encouraged to self-deport out of fear. And criminal aliens are the smallest subset of illegal aliens.
Interestingly enough, the Trump plan specifically includes detention camps, which Homan above specifically decries as not something he will do. [At 7:30 in the audio] I don’t know how Homan squares that circle, but, again, he should know better given his long experience in immigration enforcement.
Considering that Homan failed once to get mass deportations off the ground, why does President Trump believe Homan will succeed this time? Or better yet, is Trump serious? He repeatedly failed to implement ending birthright citizenship for illegal aliens. Is the mass deportation promise going to be abandoned, just as locking up Hillary Clinton was abandoned? I guess only President Jared Kushner knows for certain. We will see if Tom Homan can walk the walk.