Posted on August 22, 2023

Inside Trump’s New Plan to Limit Immigration

Stef W. Knight, Axios, August 21, 2023

Former President Trump wants unprecedented restrictions on immigration and the border if he’s elected in 2024 — such as screening prospective immigrants for “Marxist” ideologies and a naval blockade to target drug smugglers, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: As president, Trump built part of a border wall, began stringent wealth and health tests for prospective immigrants and limited asylum. His 2025 plan would go much further — potentially making it tougher for millions of foreigners to enter or stay in the U.S.

Trump’s plan would involve waves of harsh new policies — and dust off old ones that rarely have been enforced, if ever. It would:

  • Ramp up ideological screening for people legally applying to come into the country. U.S. law has blocked communists from entering for decades, it just hasn’t been enforced. Trump wants to enforce it to reject applicants who are deemed “Marxists.”
  • Send the Coast Guard and the Navy to form a blockade in the waters off the U.S. and Latin America to stop drug smuggling boats. It would be a significant step up Trump’s show of force in 2020, when he sent warships to the Caribbean as a warning to cartels.
  • Expand Trump’s “Muslim ban” idea to block more people from certain countries from entering the U.S. As president he banned immigration from more than a dozen countries that are mostly Muslim or in Africa; President Biden rescinded that executive order.
  • Designate drug cartels as “unlawful enemy combatants to allow the U.S. military to target them in Mexico. The U.S. has used that designation to justify long-term detentions of 9/11 suspects at Guantanamo Bay.
  • Seek to end birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants. Trump considered this as president, but today’s conservative-leaning Supreme Court has given his team more confidence about taking on an inevitable legal fight.
  • Extend Texas’ controversial floating barriers in the Rio Grande.
  • Quickly deport migrant gang members, smugglers and other criminals, using an obscure section of the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts.
  • Complete his border wall. Trump spent billions to put 452 miles of new fencing along the 1,954-mile southern border. Biden halted the project.


Zoom in: Trump’s focus is the southern border, but he’s also poised to severely curtail legal immigration — a plan likely to be controversial at a time when many experts say the U.S. increasingly needs immigrants to fuel its economy.

  • His enhanced screening of immigration applicants’ ideologies would involve searching their social media accounts, a source familiar with Trump’s plan said. Visa applicants already have to provide their social media handles, a practice that began under Trump.
  • He plans to cut access to the U.S. immigration system for countries whose citizens have high rates of staying in the U.S. illegally after their visas expire.
  • Trump also wants to require prospective immigrants to prove they can afford health insurance, and force some travelers pay hefty bonds to enter the U.S.


  • He would point to general illness coming across the border to try to reimpose Title 42 {snip}
  • Trump promises to explicitly use Title 42 to expel kids — framing it as an effort to fight child trafficking.