Trump says he will invoke 225-year-old law to combat border crisis

 January 4, 2024

Fox News reported last month that a new one-day record was set for the total number of illegal migrants encountered by Customs and Border Protection.

President Donald Trump has said he will use every available means to end the border crisis, including a law that is over 200 hundred years old. 

Trump lays out plans for second term

That's according to an op-ed piece published by the Des Moines Register on Wednesday in which Trump both touted his record on illegal immigration and laid out plans for the future.

The former president began by recalling how he "removed over 1 million illegal aliens" during his first term and implemented a "Remain in Mexico" policy under which those seeking asylum had to submit their claims before crossing the border.

Trump also boasted of having used Title 42 to swiftly deport illegal border crossers and constructed 500 miles of wall despite "obstructionist left-wing judges and radical Democrat activists who tried to stop us."

After promising to restore these and other policies, Trump then said that during his second term, he will invoke the Alien Enemies Act, a piece of legislation signed into law by President John Adams in 1798.

Former president says 18th Century law will target gangs and cartels

It states in part that the president may "order all such aliens as he shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, or shall have reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the government thereof, to depart out of the territory of the United States..."

The Republican frontrunner pledged that he would use the law to target "known or suspected gang members, drug dealers, or cartel members."

"The millions of illegal aliens who have invaded under Biden require a record number of removals. This is just common sense," Trump added.

The Daily Mail noted that President Franklin Roosevelt used the Alien Enemies Act to expel citizens of Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II.

Debate over whether Alien Enemies Act applies to cartel and gang members

While the newspaper also pointed out that some experts have questioned whether the law can be used during peacetime, others have said it may be applicable.

Among them is George Fishman, who serves as a senior legal fellow at the conservative Center for Immigration Studies.

He acknowledged in an article published late last year that the actions of gangs and cartels would have to be categorized as either an "invasion" or a "predatory incursion" into the United States, something courts have yet to do.

What's more, those organizations would have to be recognized as being the equivalent of foreign governments. While there is no legal precedent for doing this, Fishman pointed out that Congress could pass a bill clarifying that cartels and foreign gangs are covered by the term.

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