Trump: I'll create a deportation force to eject all illegal immigrants

During last night’s debate, John Kasich derided Donald Trump’s immigration stance, calling it “a silly argument” to promise that Trump would deport all illegal immigrants. “We all know you can’t pack them up and ship them back across the border,” Kasich said directly to Trump. Trump insisted he could do it, although he still gave no details on how he plans to do so. Earlier today, on Morning Joe, Trump elaborated a little more, adopting Mika Brzezinski’s nomenclature by promising a “deportation force” to carry out the mission:

David Rutz at the Free Beacon captures the exchange:

Trump, who has frequently promised a giant “wall” between the U.S. and Mexico that the latter would pay for, was explaining a sect of his immigration stance when MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski asked him how exactly he would deport the millions of illegal immigrants living in the country.

“Are you going to have a massive deportation force?” she asked.

“You’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely and you’re going to bring the country–and frankly, the people, because you have some excellent, wonderful people, some fantastic people that have been here for a long period of time,” Trump said. “Don’t forget, Mika, that you have millions of people that are waiting [in] line to come into this country, and they’re waiting to come in legally.”

A deportation force? Presumably this is different than ICE, with a specialized mission to find 11 million people living among a population of over 300 million, and in the narrow time frame that Trump has previously promised (one year, in a previous debate). Would this be a paramilitary operation, or a law-enforcement agency? If so, how much money would it cost, and how exactly would they round up 11 million people? More to the point, do conservatives really believe that launching a new “deportation force” is consonant with limited-government principles, or more of a giant leap toward a police state?

Put it a different way: Would anyone trust Hillary Clinton with a “deportation force”? Or Barack Obama?

Now, it’s fair to note that the phrase in this case came from Brzezinski, and not Trump. However, that just adds to the perception that Trump is winging it, rather than offering a well-thought-out policy. If he had a policy that didn’t include a “deportation force,” then Trump would hardly have gone along with Brzezinski on this point. At least when pressed to explain his immigration policies, Trump mainly ends up mouthing platitudes about a “beautiful wall” (which is good policy), and vague promises to eject millions of people without any specificity about how that gets accomplished. The “deportation force” comment should be a warning not just to conservatives about Trump’s predilection for top-down authority, but also that he’s largely offering nothing but slogans that he thinks people want to hear.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on March 20, 2023