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President Donald Trump speaks about immigration reform in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 16, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump speaks about immigration reform in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 16, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Trump's new immigration proposal will be a "merit-based system" that prioritizes high-skilled workers over those with family already in the country and does not address young undocumented immigrants that are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It's "Xenophobia and Racism," Says Sanders, as Trump Threatens "Removal Forces" for Immigrants

 President's new tweet forshadowing "removal forces" comes on heels of reporting that his administration will invoke arcane law to use military force to drive out immgrants

Andrea Germanos

Sen. Bernie Sanders accused Donald Trump of pushing "xenophobia and racism" on Friday after the president said his administration is building up "removal forces" to kick out immigrants.

Writer and activist Shaun King, on Twitter, said Trump's Friday morning tweet backs up reporting that the president plans on invoking an arcane law to use military force to drive out undocumented immigrants.

Right-wing news outlet The Daily Caller first reported Thursday that, among other moves, Trump plans on invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807 to boot undocumented immigrants from the country.  

Last invoked by President George H. W. Bush in response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the act allows for the deployment of federal troops in response to "unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion."

On Friday morning, the administration had an opportunity to refute the reporting, but did not.

"Is the administration considering the Insurrection Act?" asked "Fox & Friends" host Steve Doocy of deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidle.

"He's going to do everything within his legal authority to protect the American people and the families of this country," Gidley responded.

"That's a yes," Doocy and fellow host Brian Kilmeade said.

The Daily Caller reporting followed Trump's Thursday afternoon speech from the White House Rose Garden in which he sketched out a new immigration plan.

As the Los Angeles Times reported,

The plan, for which the White House did not release any written text or even an outline, focuses on border infrastructure—additional barriers, checkpoints and other enforcement tools. It also would shift the legal immigration system away from the preference for people who have family in the United States to one based on what the administration defines as "merit"—specific job skills, advanced degrees or the money to start a new company. [...]

Any potential immigrant would also need to pass English proficiency and civics tests and prove he or she will be "financially self-sufficient," to gain admittance, with preference being given to young people, who the president said would contribute more to the country's social safety net.

Democratic leadership called the plan "dead-on-arrival."

"The White House has repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans: greenlighting the Administration’s barbaric family detention policies, reviving the president's ineffective and wasteful wall, completely abandoning our patriotic and determined Dreamers, and gutting our asylum and refugee protections, which the evangelical community has called the 'crown jewel of American humanitarianism,'" said Speaker Pelosi in a statement.

"To say that this plan's application criteria are 'merit-based,'" she added, "is the height of condescension."

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) rebuked the proposal as well, saying that it "would make our already brutal immigration system even more inhumane."

The proposal met similar outrage from immigration activist Maru Mora Villalpando, who told Democracy Now! Friday that it's "another white supremacist take on immigration" and "another step in [the] war on immigrants."

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