Posted on May 6, 2024

Inside Trump’s Plan to Deport ‘Nearly 20 Million’ Illegal Migrants From the US

Diana Glebova, New York Post, May 5, 2024

Donald Trump has vowed to deliver the “largest mass deportation effort” in American history if he gets back into office next year, targeting millions of illegal migrants across the country.

The 45th president has frequently spoken about his deportation agenda, and recently indicated in a TIME Magazine interview that he would leverage local law enforcement, the National Guard and the military to carry out his plan — similar to the dragnet-style sweeps of “Operation Wetback” under former President Dwight Eisenhower that shipped more than 1 million migrants out in 1954.

The Trump 2024 campaign has not gotten into the details of what resources would be needed to find, detain and deport the “nearly 20 million” illegal migrants they say are currently in the US.

But carrying out an operation that large would require a massive expansion of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, collaboration with the State Department and a boost in funding from Congress, former ICE officials tell The Post.

The 20 million claim from the Trump campaign is “not an unreasonable estimate” given the fluctuations and record-breaking number of migrants entering the US under the Biden administration, Eric Ruark, NumbersUSA’s director of research, told The Post.


Tom Homan, former acting director of ICE under Trump, said the agency has “systems in place that are very good at identifying people,” but the speed of the deportations would depend on the resources on hand.

“A lot of that is going to be up to Congress … We need officers, we need detention beds, we need transportation contracts … because [we would have] more flights heading out of the country and more bus removals down to the border,” Homan said.

“We would still prioritize criminals and national security threats first, they are the most dangerous for the country.” he added. “But I would say no one is off the table. If you’re in this country illegally… then we’ll remove you.”


Apart from the reluctance of a possible Democratic-run Congress to fund enhanced enforcement operations, a Trump administration could run into hurdles deporting migrants to their countries of origin if those governments refuse re-entry. That problem would have to be solved through the work of the State Department, along with a hardline foreign policy, the ex-officials told The Post.