Trump returns to the U.S.-Mexico border as he lays out hard-line immigration proposals

Donald Trump poses for a photo with a Texas state trooper.
Donald Trump poses for a photo with a Texas state trooper Sunday in Edinburg, Texas.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

Donald Trump picked up the Texas governor’s endorsement Sunday during a visit to a U.S.-Mexico border town and promised that his hard-line immigration policies in a second presidential term would make Greg Abbott’s “job much easier.”

“You’ll be able to focus on other things in Texas,” Trump told Abbott as they each appeared before a crowd of about 150 at an airport hangar in Edinburg, Texas.

Abbott, a longtime ally and fellow border hawk, said he was proud to endorse the former president, who is the Republican Party’s front-runner for the 2024 nomination.

“We need a president who’s going to secure the border,” Abbott said, speaking in a town that is about 30 miles from the Hidalgo Port of Entry crossing with Mexico.

Earlier, Trump served meals to Texas National Guard soldiers, troopers and others who will be stationed at the border over Thanksgiving. Trump and Abbott handed out tacos, and the former president shook hands and posed for pictures.


“What you do is incredible, and you want it to be done right,” Trump told them.

Trump has been laying out immigration proposals that would mark a dramatic escalation of the approach he used in office and that drew alarms from civil rights activists and numerous court challenges.

Though Trump has peppered campaign speeches with his immigration plans, he only made brief remarks in border country Sunday. He spoke for only about 10 minutes against a backdrop of state police choppers, a plane and an armed patrol boat — all used by Texas at the border.

Donald Trump is already laying a sweeping set of policy goals should he win a second term as president

Nov. 12, 2023

Trump did not get into the policies he would pursue if elected. He did complain about inflation, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 and news media coverage. He said most technology outside of wheels and walls eventually becomes obsolete.

“We just need the walls,” Trump said.

His plan calls for building more of the wall along the border.

Trump also wants to:

— revive and expand his controversial travel ban, which initially targeted seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump’s initial executive order was fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld what Trump complained was a “watered down” version that included travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan officials.

— begin new “ideological screening” for all immigrants, aiming to bar “Christian-hating communists and Marxists” and “dangerous lunatics, haters, bigots and maniacs” from entering the United States. “Those who come to and join our country must love our country,” he has said.

— bar those who support the Hamas militant group. “If you empathize with radical Islamic terrorists and extremists, you’re disqualified,” Trump says. “If you want to abolish the state of Israel, you’re disqualified. If you support Hamas or any ideology that’s having to do with that or any of the other really sick thoughts that go through people’s minds — very dangerous thoughts — you’re disqualified.”


— deport immigrants living in the country who harbor “jihadist sympathies” and send immigration agents to “pro-jihadist demonstrations” to identify violators. He would target foreign nationals on college campuses and revoke the student visas of those who express anti-American or antisemitic views.

— invoke the Alien Enemies Act to remove from the United States all known or suspected gang members and drug dealers. That law was used to justify internment camps in World War II. It allows the president to unilaterally detain and deport people who are not U.S. citizens.

Soldiers and razor-sharp metal at the Mexico-Texas border don’t deter migrants who traveled months to get there, as numbers of those fleeing to the U.S. soar.

Oct. 2, 2023

— end the constitutional right to birthright citizenship by signing an executive order his first day in office that would codify a legally untested reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment. Under his order, only children with at least one U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent would be eligible for a passport, Social Security number and other benefits.

— terminate all work permits and cut off funding for shelter and transportation for people who are in the country illegally.

— crack down on legal asylum-seekers and reimplement measures such as Title 42, which allowed Trump to turn away immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

President Biden says he’s ‘never been more optimistic’ about the country’s direction but paints a catastrophic picture if Trump gets reelected.

Nov. 19, 2023

— press Congress to pass a law so anyone caught trafficking women or children would receive the death penalty.

— shift federal law enforcement agents, including FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration personnel, to immigration enforcement, and re-position at the southern border thousands of troops currently stationed overseas.

Democrats portrayed Trump’s plans as extreme.

“Donald Trump is going after immigrants, our rights, our safety and our democracy,” Biden reelection campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said on a conference call with reporters. “And that is what really is on the ballot.”

Trump has made frequent trips to the border as a candidate and president. The border has also become a centerpiece of Abbott’s agenda and the subject of an escalating fight with the Biden administration over immigration. The three-term governor has approved billions of dollars in new border wall construction, authorized razor wire on the banks of the Rio Grande and bused thousands of migrants to Democratic-led cities across the United States.

A bus carrying 30 migrants arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday, the third in a series launched by Gov. Greg Abbott and sent to California.

July 13, 2023

Abbott is expected to soon sign what would be one of Texas’ most aggressive measures to date: a law that allows police officers to arrest migrants suspected of entering the country illegally and empowers judges to effectively deport them. The measure is a dramatic challenge to the U.S. government’s authority over immigration. It already has drawn rebuke from Mexico.

An 11th busload of migrants from Texas arrived even as the City Council was asking L.A.’s city attorney to look into suing the state of Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Aug. 30, 2023

Still, the Texas GOP’s hard right has not always embraced Abbott. Trump posted on his social media platform earlier this year that the governor was “MISSING IN ACTION!” after Republicans voted to impeach Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton, a Trump ally. Abbott was also booed at a 2022 Trump rally.

But Abbott’s navigation within the GOP has built him broad support in Texas, where he has outperformed more strident Republicans down-ballot and helped the GOP make crucial inroads with Latino voters.

Weber and Price reported from Texas and Colvin reported from New York. Associated Press writer Will Weissert in Wilmington, Del., contributed to this report.