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SHOT/CHASER: Trump’s Imperial and Mass Deportation Fantasies: A Blueprint for Authoritarianism and Economic Disaster

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SHOT: Over the course of recent interviews and conversations with TIME, former U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his vision for an “imperial presidency” that includes a draconian scheme to deport over 11 million immigrants—a move that would not only decimate our nation’s economy but also strongly undermine the very values and history of America. 

Trump’s xenophobic deportation scheme is nothing short of a descent into authoritarianism: the mass expulsion of 11 million immigrants, “migrant detention camps,” and to “deploy the U.S. military, both at the border and inland.” 

Building on the anti-immigrant policies he set in motion during his first term, Trump has made clear his “plans to be more aggressive.” According to one of Trump’s top advisors and former acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement: “no one should be off the table.”


Trump’s mass deportation plan is not just morally bankrupt—it’s economically catastrophic.

Immigrants are an integral part of America’s economic engine and contribute significantly to the heartland of the country by generating new jobs, offsetting inflation, and replenishing the nation’s workforce. When immigrants are removed from the workforce, businesses and local economies are harmed. In Florida, a recent law has come into effect that “punishes employers who use undocumented labor.” Following passage, immigrants left Florida in droves for other states, negatively affecting businesses’ bottom lines, and the state’s economy is estimated to lose $12.6 billion in its first year alone—not including the loss of tax revenue.

Forbes notes that “throughout American history, immigrants have become some of the most brilliant and successful contributors,” and while immigrants make up only 14% of the American population, they are responsible for founding over one-third of all new businesses and over half of startups that are valued over $1 billion.” 

The key to a vibrant economy and bright future for America is not mass expulsion—it’s embracing immigrants and their commitment to working and building up our nation. The American Prospect highlights that “work permits for undocumented migrants would be very smart economics” and expanding access to work authorizations would “provide more workers in occupations experiencing shortages, damp down inflationary pressures, and improve the quality of services.” 

Murad Awawdeh, President and CEO, New York Immigration Coalition, said:

“For generations, immigrants have been vital to New York and our nation in shaping our economy and helping our communities grow and thrive. As part of our founding history and values, we categorically reject any xenophobic agenda and an America defined by fear and division. We continue to call on our federal leaders and officials to deliver real solutions, expanded access to work authorizations, and resources and funding for cities and states, so that immigrants can continue to significantly contribute to the economy and our communities.”

Here are key takeaways about immigrants’ crucial contributions to our nation’s economy and future:

Axios: New immigration reality: The economy needs workers

President Biden is facing widespread voter discontent around the border crisis and the economy. Yet high immigration rates have played a notable role in offsetting inflation.

Policymakers say the mass immigration of recent years helped heal that type of labor market imbalance, and has helped bring inflation down from the 2021-2022 surge.

What they’re saying: During an appearance at Stanford University this month, Fed chair Jerome Powell said that soaring immigration explains, at least in part, why the economy managed to stave off a recession last year, despite the odds.

“Some part of that is there are significantly more people working in the country,” Powell said.

“It’s just reporting the facts to say that immigration and labor force participation both contributed to the very strong economic output growth that we had last year,” Powell told lawmakers earlier this year.

Wisconsin Public Radio: Central Wisconsin farmers: Immigration crackdown, trade war affect our business

Those deportations, if carried out, would likely hit Wisconsin dairy farms hard. Dairy producers rely on immigrant labor, often from Mexico and South America, to operate. While many workers come here with legal status through temporary work visas, that is not the case for all of the workforce.

“It seems foolish to just pretend that foreign-born workers aren’t here and that we don’t need them,” said Hans Breitenmoser, whose dairy farm outside of Merrill has about 460 cows. “We need a means by which their presence here can be legal and sustainable, and also provide them with the dignity that they deserve.”

NPR: A year later, Florida businesses say the state’s immigration law dealt a huge blow

About a year ago, Florida Governor and then presidential candidate Ron DeSantis passed one of the toughest crackdowns on immigration in the country. SB1718 punishes employers who use undocumented labor and forbids undocumented people from having a driver’s license. Many local Florida businesses say the new law has led to workers leaving the state, hurting their bottom line. “A lot of people are scared,” says Sanchez. “A lot of people went north and never came back.”

The Florida Policy Institute estimates this immigration law could cost the state’s economy $12.6 billion in its first year. That’s not counting the loss of tax revenue.

Forbes: What Immigrants Bring To America

While immigrants make up only 14% of the American population, they are responsible for founding over one-third of all new businesses and over half of startups that are valued over $1 billion. Nvidia, the semiconductor maker that now has a market cap of over $2 trillion (for perspective, that’s two thousand billions or two million millions) was founded by an immigrant.

In other words, Americans’ justifiable frustration over illegal immigration is starting to dent their support for legal immigration. If that continues, all Americans will be worse off.

We do have to secure our borders. But we mustn’t lose sight of the competitive advantage that comes from the world’s smartest and most entrepreneurial people wanting to come here.

The American Prospect: Our Workforce Needs More Immigrants

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that immigrants will increase GDP by seven trillion dollars over the next decade. Work permits for undocumented migrants would be very smart economics. It would provide more workers in occupations experiencing shortages, damp down inflationary pressures, and improve the quality of services. In human terms, it would be the right thing to do.