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Trump’s Plan for Massive Immigration Purges and Detention Camps Promises Chaos for All

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Vanessa Cárdenas on a new WaPo mass-deportation article and Niskanen Center analysis of Heritage Project 2025 immigration plans: “What’s at stake goes well beyond immigration policy and is instead central to larger questions of who we are as a country and our future as an inclusive, multiracial democracy.”

Washington, DC — A prominent Washington Post article, “Trump and allies plotting militarized mass deportations, detention camps,” highlights the chilling stakes and plans of Donald Trump and Stephen Miller regarding militarized mass deportations and the purge of long-settled immigrants from U.S. communities (building on previous notable reports from The Atlantic and New York Times). As the article makes clear, the threats are both real and devastating, differing from earlier similar Trump pledges in part due to a revamped effort to staff a potential second term with only loyalists comfortable with such policies.

Less noticed but just as relevant is a new report from the Niskanen Center that analyzes the details of the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 on immigration policy. The Heritage project is closely aligned with a potential second Trump term and, as Niskanen assesses, “nearly 64 percent of its [Heritage’s] recommendations” for a first Trump term were implemented within the first year. Analyzing the new Project 2025 iteration, Niskanen notes the immigration policy proposals are:

“far more complex and destructive than previously reported. It isn’t simply a refresh of first-term ideas, dusted off and ready to be re-implemented. Rather, it reflects a meticulously orchestrated, comprehensive plan to drive immigration levels to unprecedented lows and increase the federal government’s power to the states’ detriment. These proposals circumvent Congress and the courts and are specifically engineered to dismantle the foundations of our immigration system.” 

Niskanen highlights Project 2025 plans to, among others, “Block federal financial aid for up to two-thirds of all American college students if their state permits certain immigrant groups, including Dreamers with legal status, to access in-state tuition,” “Terminate the legal status of 500,000 Dreamers by eliminating staff time for reviewing and processing renewal applications,” repealing Temporary Protective Status (TPS) by “stripping almost 700,000 of legal protection and work authorization and “Use backlog numbers to trigger the automatic suspension of application intake for large categories of legal immigration.” The assault on legal immigration, the consequences for people who are not immigrants, and the scale of the economic disruption are quite simply amazing. 

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“Make no mistake – a Trump second term would be devastating to all Americans because the Trump team’s obsession with purging the country of immigrants will ravage our economy, devastate law enforcement, and transform the very fabric of our nation in the process. ‘Poisoning the blood’ and promising mass roundups to purge the country of the foreign-born are not just dangerous Trump rally applause lines, but also grim threats backed by real policy proposals. 

All level-headed Americans – including Democratic leaders – must mount an aggressive counter to Trump’s dystopia. There can be no aiding and abetting Trump’s chaotic and destructive vision for America. Donald Trump’s stated goal is to unite the American people against the foreign-born, but his desire for a punitive policy aims to divide Americans along lines of race and class and geography. Taken as a whole, it makes clear that what’s at stake goes well beyond immigration policy and is instead central to larger questions of who we are as a country and our future as an inclusive, multiracial democracy.”