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Mass Deportation is a Kitchen Table Issue, and the Devastating Consequences of the GOP’s Signature Promise are Worth Talking About

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This week, President Biden announced a new policy that will keep families together, protect DACA recipients, and allow long-settled immigrants to stay in the United States. This is a welcome development that will improve the lives of millions of people around the country. At the same time, it exposes the dangers of  Donald Trump’s mass deportation agenda. If he wins and unleashes the red state army conceived by Stephen Miller, all of those people would be targeted under their mass deportation regime.

As Greg Sargent explained at The New Republic, “Miller, Trump, and others enthuse about launching mass deportations, but they often describe this as the removal of a dangerous, amorphous enemy class within. Biden’s new move highlights that many of those people are deeply connected to U.S. communities and to countless American families.” As Sargent pointed out, Republicans and their FOX News allies are trying to put the focus solely on the border, because they know that deporting Dreamers and separating American families is bad politics.

But mass deportation is their signature campaign promise. It’s about rounding up immigrants who live in our communities, work with us, feed us, and care for us.

At the White House event on June 18 announcing the new policies, President Biden laid out Trump’s record and his plans:

When he was president, he separated families and children at the border.  And now he’s proposing to rip spouses and children from their families and homes and communities and place them in detention camps.  He’s actually saying these things.  It’s hard to believe it’s being said, but he’s actually saying these things out loud.  And it’s outrageous. 

It is outrageous. It is also the plan.

Families will be separated and torn apart in cruel and unprecedented numbers. This is not hyperbole. Miller has repeatedly explained the strategy he has been developing of deploying the military, deputizing policy, and sending the National Guard from red states into blue states to begin massive round-ups, detentions, and deportations. Unlike last time, there is a plan, a will to carry it out, and little in the way of impediments if given the opportunity.

That would have a brutal impact on communities around the country far beyond the undocumented community. National Guard troops will be barreling through neighborhoods as they rounded up immigrants – or anyone who looks like one. As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes wrote ​​“People should take a moment to imagine the amount of terror, violence, expense and destruction that is going to be necessary to deport TWENTY MILLION people. And also, think the[y] sic won’t just mess up and grab a whole bunch of American citizens while they’re at it?” 

Beyond the devastating human and community impact, there will also be a massive hit to the U.S. economy. In a Washington Monthly column, “Trump’s Plans for Mass Deportation Would Be an Economic Disaster,” Robert Shapiro, former Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, focused on the economic catastrophe Trump’s plans would inflict on all Americans. “For example, the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants have deep ties to their communities and the country, with 79 percent having lived here for at least 12 years and 44 percent for 20 to 40 years,” wrote Shapiro “Some also work for businesses, which is the equivalent of 4.5 percent of all employment today. Removing them from the workforce could, at once, bring on a recession while reigniting inflation”

Shapiro also noted the Trump/Miller plan would impact the jobs of U.S. Citizens too: “A recent study of much more modest programs to deport immigrants found clear evidence that they cost other American jobs. By one calculation, deporting 1 million immigrants would lead to 88,000 additional employment losses by other Americans, suggesting that Trump’s program could cost up to 968,000 Americans their jobs on top of the 7.1 million jobs held by immigrants up for deportation”

Immigrants, both undocumented and those with some protections like TPS, are deeply ingrained immigrants. That includes at least one million farm workers, more than 205,000 food production workers and 1.6 million workers in the construction industry and an estimated 142,000 undocumented immigrants who work as childcare workers, personal care, and home health workers. All targets for the GOP’s mass deportation.

It’s no doubt that they will target cities with large populations of undocumented immigrants. That puts a city like Las Vegas in their crosshairs.  According to the American Immigration Council, the state is home to approximately 600,000 immigrants – approximately 168,000 of them are undocumented. In Nevada alone, according to the American Immigration Council, “nearly 136,000 U.S. citizens in Nevada live with at least one family member who is undocumented.” Those citizens, like many of their neighbors, will suffer gravely – emotionally and financially. 

Despite the brutal economic and social costs their mass deportation plan would inflict,   Republicans are feeling emboldened. Bolstered likely by their own internal polling and the findings of a CBS/YouGov poll, from earlier this month that asked about support for a mass deportation program. Among registered voters, 62% favored that program, while 38% were opposed. A disturbing finding for sure, but there is also plenty of evidence to suggest that exposure of the details and consequences of the mass deportation plan could crater its support ahead of the election.  

First and foremost, when given the choice between deportation and legal status, even some 30% of Republican base voters supported legal status. During the GOP primaries, Republican voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina were asked in exit polls if they supported legalization or deportation. In South Carolina exit polling, the vast majority of Nikki Haley’s voters, 70%, chose legal status. While most Trump voters expressed pro-mass deportation sentiments, 29% joined Haley voters in saying they support a path to legalization. This number closely mirrored the results we saw in the New Hampshire, where 28% of Trump voters and 68% of Haley voters favored legal status.

For many, the idea of mass deportation is probably linked closely to what’s happening at the border and the relentless fearmongering on the topic from Republicans to the tune of more than $190M on TV/CTV ads this year alone. Again, their plan would target those long-settled, not just new arrivals, but those details have not yet been widely understood. Moreover, the reaction to Trump’s family separation policy in 2018 be a better indication of where the public might land on a policy that is mass family separation, including that of US citizens. In June of 2018, Quinnipiac asked about that policy and found overwhelming opposition – 66 – 27 % opposed in the national poll to “the policy of separating children and parents when families illegally cross the border into America.” Years later, in 2024, still 58% were concerned about the idea of bringing back the policy in a poll commissioned by the Immigration Hub of battleground states.  

Providing permanent legal pathways for DACA recipients has received constant support from strong majorities of Americans. (see poll roundups here and here). Are we to believe that public sentiment has flipped like that of Sens. Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, who now eagerly support the mass deportation of Dreamers?      

Additionally, recent polling by Equis Research, shows strong support for keeping families together  – the opposite of mass deportation. 77% of  Hispanic Voters and 61%  Registered Voters agreed, “President Biden should prioritize keeping families together by ensuring that undocumented immigrants are not separated from their children and spouses who are American citizens”  

The threat of mass deportation has the potential to cause a backlash with Latino voters. As an NBC News report recently noted:  

[Co-founder of Equis Research Carlos] Odio said Trump may be overreaching by promising mass deportations of the 11 million undocumented adults and children in the U.S. 

Odio said Latino voters generally reject the idea of mass deportations of people who have been here for many years, and that leaves an opening for Biden: He can show that he’s committed to imposing order at the border, while also taking a “corrective step” on behalf of people here for decades without legal status. 

“That is a very big difference and very powerful among Latino voters, even the swingiest Latino voters,” Odio said.

Recession, inflation, and massive job loss will hit the kitchen table hard for working families all across the country. But there would be a stark hole in the homes of those immigrants who are taken away. There will be empty seats at kitchen tables. There will be a loss of paychecks. There will be a loss of family. Kids will come from school to homes without their parents. Businesses would lose workers, some would just shutter. Crops would rot in the fields. 

A bleak picture, yes, but one that must be directly confronted with eyes wide open. The radicalized GOP has fully embraced this devastatingly cruel policy, and there is a real potential for mass deportation’s proponents to be caught holding the bag for an unpopular and cruel proposal. 

Writing on Twitter this week, Odio summed it up

Most Latinos, like most Americans, support a both/and approach to immigration. Those Latinos who lost faith in Dems just stopped voting on the issue. Then debate became entirely about border, a law & order q. When you broaden the lens, old battle-lines return.

Biden this week picked a clarifying fight: what do we do about people who’ve been part of this country for years? Do we keep American families together (Biden)? Or deport millions who’ve been here for decades (Trump/Miller)? Research shows who has the clear edge on that question.

That clear edge goes to Biden. Let’s have that clarifying fight now.


  • 179 Republican ads running with immigration-related attacks on TV and CTV 
    • Total spending on nativist ads for the week of June 16th — $8,085,793 (AdImpact)
  • Year to date:
    • Total nativist TV and CTV ads: 954
    • Total spend on nativist TV and CTV ads — $200,480,195 (AdImpact)

Nativist Ad of the Week

  • In the Republican Primary in Virginia House, Protect Freedom PAC has a new TV ad endorsing Cameron Hamilton stating that “Millions crossing our border” with a Mexican flag background and that “billions shipped overseas…he’s joining President Trump’s fight to finish the wall deport the invaders”.

Of the 525 GOP Twitter accounts we track, this week, they sent: 

  • 561 original tweets peddling anti-immigrant attacks mentioning “border”
  • 155 original tweets about “open borders,” with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweet having the most reach with 410.1K Views, 6.3k Retweets, and 12.6k Likes.
  • 53 original tweets that used “Biden Border Crisis” with Gov. Greg Abbott tweet having the most reach with 63.1K Views, 1k Retweets, and 3.7k Likes.
  • 14 original tweets that mentioned both “fentanyl” and “border” with Rep. Clay Higgins tweet having the most reach with 101.3K views, 1.9k Retweets and 5.5k Likes.

Top Articles on Social of the Week (Right-wing media still dominating the conversation online)

This past week there were 770.8k interactions, an increase of↑ 37% and 14.8k articles published, an increase of ↑4% from last week. Interactions and article count are both higher than the previous week. Data assembled from Newswhip. 

  • Fox News: “Migrant arrested in broad daylight rape of 13-year-old in New York park”
    • Facebook: 7.4k Interactions X: 14.1k Shares
  • WFTV: “Trump proposes green cards for foreign grads of US colleges, departing from anti-immigrant rhetoric”
    • Facebook: 17.8k interactions
  • WFTV:  “Trump blasts immigrants for taking jobs as he courts voters at a Black church, MAGA event in Detroit”
    • Facebook: 17.8k Interactions