Did Trump Call for Mass Detentions and Deportations of Latinos?

The former president addressed the illegal immigration problem during a March 2024 campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Published March 5, 2024

 (Screenshot via X)
Image courtesy of Screenshot via X

On March 2, 2024, a post claimed that former U.S. President Donald Trump called "for mass detention camps and rounding up millions of Latinos, echoing Project 2025." 

The post on X was shared by a pro-Biden account, which posted a clip of Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, on March 2, 2024. In the clip, Trump can be heard saying, "We will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history."

(Screenshot via X)

Trump did not explicitly say in the speech he would deport "millions of Latinos," but did promise the deportation of "illegal alien migrants" in what he said would be "the largest deportation operation in American history." However, people from Latin American countries do comprise a significant majority of the millions of migrants living in the U.S. without authorization, according to Pew Research Center. 

Moreover, Trump did not explicitly call for "mass detention camps," though the largest deportation operation in American history would presumably require much more detention space than currently exists.

We previously reported how a November 2023 New York Times story found Trump was planning "an extreme expansion" of his first-term immigration policies should he be reelected, including rounding up undocumented people in the United States and putting them in "vast holding facilities" before expelling them from the country. Stephen Miller, who was an adviser to Trump during his term of office and still advises him on immigration matters, acknowledged the plan to build more detention camps, saying they would likely be built "on open land in Texas near the border." Miller said the military would construct the camps under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, and that they would be used to primarily detain single adults. 

Trump's full speech can be heard on C-SPAN here. Earlier in the speech, he accused President Joe Biden of not doing enough to get MS-13 out of the United States — referring to a criminal street gang of Salvadoran immigrants that Snopes previously reported had origins in Los Angeles. 

We have transcribed the relevant section of Trump's speech below, including what he said just before calling for the "largest domestic deportation operation" (emphasis, ours):

If Joe Biden's illegal alien migrants do not go back to their countries, we will never get our country back. But we are going to take them back, because they will not go back. We're going to take them back. Fast. It's going to happen quickly. [...] You know the local police know every one of them. [...] We are giving our policemen immunity from prosecution because you know when they stop crime, they get prosecuted. [...] On day one of my administration I will terminate every open border policy of the Biden administration. We will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history because we have no choice. 

Trump made similar comments in September 2023, saying he would carry out "the largest domestic deportation operation in American history." He also said he would be "Following the Eisenhower model" for such deportations, referencing a 1954 campaign to round up and expel Mexican migrants, named after an ethnic slur — "Operation Wetback."

We should note that during Trump's first term in office, he expanded an already large immigration-detention system of four family detention centers that included facilities for children and around 200 adult facilities.

In the past, Trump has referred to migrants who cross the southern border as "coming in from prisons and mental institutions," adding "many are terrorists," "illegal aliens," "cartel members," "drug dealers," and used incendiary language that doubled down on his history of anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. He has also stereotyped Mexicans and other Latin Americans.

The post from @BidenHQ also referenced Project 2025, which is an effort by conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and a number of affiliated organizations to roll back what they believe has been many years of a liberal takeover in Washington, D.C. Broadly speaking, the project aims to slash the bureaucracy and populate it with conservative employees, but supporters also have a number of proposals for various areas of governance. In particular, the project calls for deploying U.S. military and the National Guard as law enforcement at the border, similar to Trump's own plans to use military bases and personnel in deportation efforts. 


Arnsdorf, Isaac, et al. "Trump and Allies Planning Militarized Mass Deportations, Detention Camps." Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2024., Accessed 5 March 2024.

"Campaign 2024: Former President Donald Trump Holds Rally in Greensboro, North Carolina." March 2, 2024. C-SPAN.Org. Accessed 5 March 2024.

"Here Are All the Times Donald Trump Insulted Mexico." TIME, 31 Aug. 2016, Accessed 5 March 2024.

Ibrahim, Nur. "Did Trump Call for Mass Detention and Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants?" Snopes, 20 Dec. 2023, Accessed 5 March 2024.

Palma, Bethania. "What Is MS-13?" Snopes, 11 Feb. 2018, Accessed 5 March 2024.

Savage, Charlie, et al. "Sweeping Raids, Giant Camps and Mass Deportations: Inside Trump's 2025 Immigration Plans." The New York Times, 11 Nov. 2023., Accessed 5 March 2024.

Singman, Brooke. "Trump Says He Will Carry out the 'largest Domestic Deportation Operation in American History' If Elected." Fox News, 20 Sept. 2023, Accessed 5 March 2024.

"What Trump Has Said about Mexicans." BBC News., Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.