Trump does not rule out building detention camps for mass deportations

By Thomson Reuters Apr 30, 2024 | 8:31 AM

By Tim Reid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump does not rule out building detention camps on U.S. soil for migrants in the country illegally if he wins a second White House term, he told Time magazine in an interview published on Tuesday.

Trump was asked whether he would build new detention camps as part of his campaign pledge to carry out the biggest deportation of migrants in the country illegally.

“I would not rule out anything,” Trump said. “But there wouldn’t be that much of a need for them” because, he said, the plan is to deport migrants in the U.S. illegally back to their home countries as quickly as possible.

“We’re not leaving them in the country,” Trump said. “We’re bringing them out.”

Trump has made illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border a centerpiece of his campaign against President Joe Biden, a Democrat who is running for a second four-year term. Immigration is a top issue for voters, according to national opinion polls.

Trump said he would use National Guard troops to assist in his planned deportation efforts, but also did not rule out deploying active military forces to help.

“I don’t think I’d have to do that. I think the National Guard would be able to do that. If they weren’t able to, then I’d use the military,” he said.

Trump was asked about the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, a post- Civil War law that prohibits the deployment of the military against civilians.

“Well, these aren’t civilians. These are people that aren’t legally in our country. This is an invasion of our country,” Trump said.

On Monday, Biden and his Mexican counterpart, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said their administrations would soon take steps to decrease illegal crossings at the southern border while also addressing the economic and security problems that cause people to migrate.

Trump has used dehumanizing terminology to describe immigrants in the U.S. illegally, calling them “animals” when talking about alleged criminal acts, and saying they are “poisoning the blood of our country,” a phrase that has drawn criticism as xenophobic and echoing Nazi rhetoric.

In response to the criticism, Trump has said he had no idea that German dictator Adolf Hitler had used similar language.

(Reporting by Tim Reid. Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, editing by Ross Colvin)