Multiple senior administration officials report that President Trump intends to invoke the “tremendous powers” of the Insurrection Act to remove illegal immigrants from the country.
“We’re doing the Insurrection Act,” one official said.
Under the Insurrection Act of 1807, the president has the authority to use the National Guard and military in order to combat “unlawful obstruction or rebellion” within U.S. borders. The act was last invoked in 1992 by George H.W. Bush to quell the Los Angeles riots, and was also used by Eisenhower in 1957 to enforce school desegregation in the south.
An official expressed concerns that Trump’s use of the act’s powers would face legal challenges, pointing to the lawsuits against the president’s travel ban from majority-Muslim countries. However, as the official noted, the travel ban ultimately prevailed in the Supreme Court.
In addition to the Insurrection Act, the president is also considering declaring the country full and insisting that the U.S. can no longer handle the massive influx of illegal immigrants. 2019 is currently on pace to reach the highest levels of illegal immigration in a decade.
“If you take a ship and it holds 1,000 people maximum — one more person and the ship is going to collapse,” the official explained. “The country is full.”
During a Friday interview on Fox News, White House deputy principal press secretary Hogan Gidley avoided confirming the report, but noted that Trump has “lots of tools at his disposal.”
“There’s a suggestion — I think I was reading The Washington Post this morning, they were repeating what was in The Daily Caller yesterday — about how people in the administration are talking about using the Insurrection Act, which hasn’t been used in a long time,” Fox News host Steve Doocy said to Gidley. “Is the administration considering the Insurrection Act?”
“Look, the president has been very clear. He’s going to do everything within his legal authority to protect the American people,” Gidley replied.
Doocy pressed Gidley to give a “yes or no” answer, and co-host Brian Kilmeade laughed and said that Gidley’s response indicates a “yes.”
“I’m just saying there are lots of tools at his disposal. We haven’t used them all and we’re looking at ways to protect the American people.