Donald Trump Just Used Two Words That Could Ruin His Immigration Plan

February 23rd 2017

At a meeting with manufacturing executives, President Donald Trump used two controversial words to describe his deportation plans. 

Donald Trump at CPAC 2011Gage Skidmore - flickr.com

Trump called the deportations around the country a "military operation," and he said it's getting "really bad dudes out of this country."
"All of a sudden for the first time we're getting gang members out, we're getting drug lords out, we're getting really bad dudes out of this country," Trump reportedly said to the CEOs. "And it's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country."

On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security released new guidelines for deportations that prioritize undocumented immigrants with any criminal offense, broadening the group that can be targeted, according to The Hill. 

"Soldiers from the California Army National Guard 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, 40th Combat Aviation Brigade hit the ground running during a small unit tactics exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 19, 2015."Spc. Rose Athena Wolford - wikimedia.org

The guidelines did not suggest that the military or National Guard should be used for deportations and the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kelly said that the military will not be involved in the immigration plan. 

However, people on Twitter pointed out that calling deportations a "military operation" is problematic. 

Author Rachel Graham tweeted that the military's involvement in deportations would be illegal. 

But would it actually be illegal for Trump to use the military or the national guard for deportations? Well, sort of. 

ATTN: talked to UCLA Law Professor Jon D. Michaels about using the military to enforce immigration policy. 

There are laws about how the U.S. Army and Airforce can be used and, unless Congress authorizes it, those two service branches cannot be used to enforce laws.

"Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both," reads U.S. Code 1385.  

"Generally the military is not supposed to be called out for any kind of law enforcement activity," said Michaels. He said that for the military to be used, the Trump administration would have to successfully argue that there was a threat to national security, however that seems unlikely. 

U.S. Army soldiers board a plane to Iraq.Joshuashearn - wikimedia.org

"My guess is that neither the National Guard nor the military would categorize undocumented day laborers are a threat to national security," said Michaels. 

However, the National Guard has been deployed domestically for disasters like Hurricane Katrina, but also to enforce desegregation of schools during the Civil Rights era. National Guard members had to walk 6-year-old Ruby Bridges to school in 1960, when she became one of the first black students to desegregate all an all-white school, and the guard also protected the "Little Rock Nine" in Arkansas. Michaels, said it would be a stretch, but it's possible the Trump administration could make an argument against sanctuary cities that shelter undocumented immigrants because they don't cooperate with federal immigration policy. 

"It would be greatly disappointing for them to use the National Guard in response to major cities along the east and west coast designating themselves sanctuary cities, and to invoke the tradition of desegregation." 

RELATED: Historian Breaks Down Why Betsy DeVos Can't Be Compared to a Civil Rights Icon

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