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On last night’s “60 Minutes,” Donald Trump pledged to immediately deport 2 to 3 million immigrants, stating that we need to remove “the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers.”
Don’t be fooled. There are nowhere near 3 million dangerous, undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Trump’s mass deportation plan would extend far beyond his focused rhetoric, sweeping up legal residents and long-term undocumented immigrants who deserve an opportunity to stay here.
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: “This is classic Trump talk on immigration. He’s using a small number of bad guys to taint a much larger population of deeply rooted families, and he’s doing it to justify one of the largest forced migrations in American history.
“What Trump is proposing is terrifying. We simply cannot allow such a mass expulsion of decent people rooted in our communities to become normalized.”
On “60 Minutes,” Trump said: “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate. But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”
Yet a 2015 study from the Migration Policy Institute demonstrates that, instead of the 2-3 million figure, there are 300,000 undocumented felons who would be targets of a focus on serious criminals. (see pages 10-11 in the MPI report).
Trump’s comments on “60 Minutes” come against the backdrop of chilling stories from across the country of immigrants and others demonized by Trump, who are now terrified for their futures and reporting a rise in hateful confrontations. The fears of children in school are the most heartbreaking of this post-election story playing out throughout the country.
Meanwhile, Trump’s pledge to end DACA on day one of his presidency remains intact. As the Washington Post editorialized, taking away DREAMers’ protections from deportation and work permits would serve no purpose other than to restrict the livelihoods, futures, and contributions of young people who are “as culturally American as their U.S.-born neighbors.”
In the face of these radical proposals, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and other Republican enablers of Trump are once again enabling and rationalizing. On Sunday, Speaker Ryan said that “we are not planning on erecting a deportation force,” as if that would reassure anyone. The fact is, we already have a deportation force in place, ICE, and president-elect Trump has pledged to “triple the number of ICE deportation officers.”
“Paul Ryan need to realize that whatever Trump does on immigration, it will come back to haunt him and the rest of the GOP.” Sharry said. “The new President is a radical on immigration and the actions that Republican President takes will define the Party for a generation.”
As just another example Steve Bannon, whose ties to white nationalism and fear mongering over a diversifying America are well established, was given a senior White House role. And the leading lights of the anti-immigrant movement, such as Senator Jeff Sessions and Kris Kobach, have newfound responsibilities and powers to staff and shape the direction of the new Administration.
Concluded Sharry, “Don’t be fooled. Trump is intent on deporting millions of hardworking people, the vast majority of whom are not criminals. This will rip apart families and become one of the darkest chapters in American history, all because he wants to throw red meat to his hard core white nationalist base. His talk of ‘criminals’ is a strategy to throw sand in the faces of the American people in hopes of covering his tracks. It’s up to all of us to make sure he doesn’t get away with it.”