The White House is open to the possibility of President Donald Trump invoking the Insurrection Act to remove illegal immigrants from the country.
White House deputy principal press secretary Hogan Gidley refused to definitively say whether or not the president intends to use the broad powers afforded by the Act during a Friday interview on Fox News but noted that Trump has “lots of tools at his disposal. (RELATED: Trump Plans To Invoke Insurrection Act To Boot Illegal Immigrants)
“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.
The Daily Caller first reported on Thursday that Trump was planning on using the act to remove illegal immigrants, which allows the president to use military forces when he believes local authorities are not able to protect the populace.
“We’re doing the Insurrection Act,” one senior administration official told the Caller.
The official also expressed concerns about potential legal challenges.
Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law, wrote in The Atlantic that Trump has the authority to carry out such an order.
“Lawsuits will certainly challenge Trump’s invocation of the Insurrection Act to assist in immigration enforcement—a purpose for which it’s never previously been used. But the text of the statute would seem to be on the president’s side,” Vladeck said.
The act was last used in 1992 by George H.W. Bush to quell the LA riots and was also used to aid desegregation efforts in the south in 1957.