Trump Plans to Invoke Ancient Wartime Law for Mass Deportations, Despite Legal Hurdles

Hialeah, FL – Former President Donald Trump has expressed his intention to invoke an 18th-century wartime law to support his aggressive stance on immigration. However, legal experts argue that using the Alien Enemies Act in this manner would likely face significant court challenges. The law, passed in 1798, empowers presidents to remove foreign nationals over the age of 14 from countries engaged in wartime activities or subject to invasion or predatory incursion. Trump and his allies believe that cartels, gangs, and drug dealers in Latin America have corrupted their governments to the extent that they can be considered effective state actors, justifying their deportation under the Act.

The legal justifications being considered by Trump’s team have been described as “convoluted and crazy” by a lawyer who has advised him in the past. If Trump were to rely on the Alien Enemies Act for mass deportations, it would undoubtedly provoke legal challenges. The Act is designed to target foreign governments, not non-state actors or alleged criminals. Without a declared war or foreign invasion, invoking the Act against these individuals would be without historical or textual foundation, according to Adam Cox, a scholar of immigration law at NYU School of Law.

Trump’s plan to use the Alien Enemies Act as a tool for deportation operations is part of his broader immigration agenda. However, opponents argue that existing immigration enforcement authority already allows for mass deportations. They point to the expansion of the “expedited removal” procedure during the Trump administration, which limits immigrants’ right to a hearing during deportation. Additionally, describing Latin American countries as narco-states engaged in acts of war against the U.S. is likely to strain diplomatic relations.

Despite the legal and diplomatic hurdles, Trump and his associates are determined to test the limits of the Alien Enemies Act if he is reelected. They believe that casting a wide dragnet beyond just cartel members, targeting their family members, associates, and broader networks, is necessary. However, attempting to translate Trump’s campaign rhetoric into government documents or legal memoranda does not hold up in court due to the lack of evidence supporting his claims.

In conclusion, while Trump’s plan to use the Alien Enemies Act to facilitate mass deportations faces significant legal and diplomatic challenges, he remains committed to the idea. Legal experts argue that existing immigration enforcement authority already allows for the deportation of criminal elements. Invoking the Alien Enemies Act against non-state actors would be unprecedented and lacks historical and textual basis. Additionally, attempting to support Trump’s claims with government documents would likely be ineffective due to the lack of evidence.