Trump threatens to deport millions ahead of re-election bid launch

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President Donald Trump is set to launch his re-election bid (Evan Vucci/AP)

US President Donald Trump has threatened to remove millions of people living in the country illegally as he prepares to formally announce his re-election bid.

Mr Trump tweeted that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement would next week “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States”.

“They will be removed as fast as they come in,” he wrote.

An administration official said the effort would focus on the more than one million people who have been issued final deportation orders by federal judges but remain at large in the country.

It is unusual for law enforcement agencies to announce raids before they take place.

Some in Mr Trump’s administration believe that decisive shows of force – such as mass arrests – can serve as effective deterrents, sending a message to those considering making the journey to the US that it is not worth coming.

Mr Trump has threatened a series of increasingly drastic actions as he has tried to stem the flow of Central American migrants crossing the southern border, which has risen dramatically on his watch.

Migrants travel from Guatemala to Mexico on a raft
Migrants travel from Guatemala to Mexico on a raft (Marco Ugarte/AP)

He recently dropped a threat to slap tariffs on Mexico after the country agreed to dispatch its national guard and step up co-ordination and enforcement efforts.

A senior Mexican official said that three weeks ago about 4,200 migrants were arriving at the US border daily.

Now that number has dropped to about 2,600.

Immigration was a central theme of Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign and he is expected to hammer it as he tries to fire up his base heading into the 2020 campaign.

Mr Trump will formally launch his re-election bid on Tuesday night at a rally in Orlando, Florida – a state that is crucial to his path back to the White House.

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