Trump Vows to Block Immigrants Who ‘Don’t Like Our Religion’

Trump’s promise will be catnip for his once-fringe Christian nationalist followers, who believe America is an inherently Christian nation.
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign event on October 23, 2023 in Derry, New Hampshire. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Speaking to Republican voters in Derry, New Hampshire, on Monday, former President Donald Trump promised “strong ideological screening” of all immigrants if he’s elected president again—and said he’d turn away those who “don’t like our religion.” “We don’t want you in our country,” he said. 

Nevermind that there’s no official religion in the U.S. and the Constitution explicitly prevents the establishment of one. Trump’s promise will be catnip for his Christian nationalist followers, whose once-fringe theological belief that America is an inherently Christian nation surged in popularity during his presidency. 


Trump’s remarks were also the most recent indication he’s planning to lean heavily on his anti-immigration playbook in order to win the election next year.

When he descended the golden elevator in Trump Tower to declare his candidacy in 2016, and accused Mexico of sending “drugs, criminals and rapists” over the border, he was instantly condemned by many for using racist, xenophobic language. As president, he signed the infamous so-called “Muslim travel ban” curtailing travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, and oversaw other hardline policies including the separation of families who came over the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Since then, anti-immigrant rhetoric and conspiracy theories have established deep roots in the mainstream of U.S politics. Meanwhile, the number of immigrants and asylum-seekers arriving to the U.S. southern border continues to surge, straining federal and local resources as officials scramble to accommodate the new arrivals. The majority of people coming across the border are from Venezuela, which is in the throes of a “severe humanitarian emergency,” according to the Biden Administration. 

Immigration is poised to be one of the biggest issues in the 2024 campaign. At last month’s GOP debate (which Trump skipped), candidates tried to out-draconian each other’s solutions to border control. 


Trump seems intent on burnishing his credentials as the most hardline on the issue, and he’s turbocharging his rhetoric this time around. 

“What they’re doing to our country is they’re destroying it. It’s the blood of our country… Not one more innocent life should be wrecked by Joe Biden’s open border agenda,” he said at a rally in Dubuque, Iowa, last month. 

Earlier this month, in an interview with The National Pulse, a hard-right news site, Trump said that immigration was “poisoning the blood of our country.” His language sent alarm bells to extremism experts and historians, who drew direct comparisons to Hitler’s writings in Mein Kampf about “contamination of the blood” and “poison which has invaded the national body.” 

Trump has also used the conflict between Israel and Hamas to stoke fears, claiming that similarly horrifying scenes may be coming to the U.S. “The bloodshed and killing that we saw this week will never ever be allowed to happen on American soil, except for the fact we have now allowed tens of thousands of probably terrorists into our country,’ he said at a rally in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, days after Hamas launched its attack on Israel and took hostages. “We’re going to have to be careful… if we don’t have smart leadership we won’t have a country any longer.” 

In a post on Monday on his platform Truth Social, Trump made similar comments. “The fight in GAZA is ‘coming home’ to the USA,” Trump wrote. “The tens of thousands of strong young men from the Middle East, that have already “invaded” our Country, and are continuing to come, totally unchecked, will become a problem the likes of which we have never seen before.”

“STOP THE INVASION!” he added.