If Implemented, Trump’s Radical Proposal Would Be a Tragic and Dark Chapter in America’s Story
Donald Trump has begun to provide specifics regarding his approach to immigration. The GOP’s frontrunner wants to rid America of 11 million undocumented immigrants and their U.S. citizen children, change the U.S. Constitution’s definition of citizenship, and place a moratorium on legal immigration.
From Trump interview with Dana Bash of CNN on July 30, 2015:
“Trump would not say how he would locate, round up and deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants he says must go. Instead, he deflected, saying that while it may be a task too tall for politicians, it isn’t for a business mogul like himself.
“‘Politicians aren’t going to find them because they have no clue. We will find them, we will get them out,’ Trump said. ‘It’s feasible if you know how to manage. Politicians don’t know how to manage.’
“And when asked about whether he would deport undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, Trump fumbled and said, unsure, that ‘it’s a tough situation’ and ‘it depends.’
“Trump was unequivocal, though, that a Trump administration would immediately deport undocumented criminals living freely and in American jails.”
From Trump interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, August 16, 2015:
“‘We’re going to keep the families together, but they have to go,’ [Trump] said in the interview, which aired in full on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ Sunday.
Pressed on what he’d do if the immigrants in question had nowhere to return to, Trump reiterated: ‘They have to go.’
“‘We will work with them. They have to go. Chuck, we either have a country, or we don’t have a country,’ he said.
“Speaking on Trump’s gilded private plane as it idled on a runway in Des Moines, Iowa, the real-estate mogul and Republican presidential front runner offered the first outlines of the immigration policy proposals he’d implement from the Oval Office.
“Trump said, to begin, ‘we have to” rescind Obama’s executive order offering those brought to the U.S. illegally as children — known as DREAMers — protection from deportation, as well as Obama’s unilateral move to delay deportation for their families as well.
“‘We have to make a whole new set of standards’ for those immigrating to the U.S.”
From Trump’s immigration position paper, posted on his website on August 15, 2015:
“For many years, Mexico’s leaders have been taking advantage of the United States by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country (as well as in other Latin American countries)….The impact in terms of crime has been tragic. In recent weeks, the headlines have been covered with cases of criminals who crossed our border illegally only to go on to commit horrific crimes against Americans…
“Meanwhile, Mexico continues to make billions on not only our bad trade deals but also relies heavily on the billions of dollars in remittances sent from illegal immigrants in the United States back to Mexico ($22 billion in 2013 alone).
“In short, the Mexican government has taken the United States to the cleaners. They are responsible for this problem, and they must help pay to clean it up.
“Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options].
“We will not be taken advantage of anymore.”
The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“Donald Trump has just proposed an unprecedented and radical approach to U.S. immigration policy. He supports nothing less than the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants and their millions of U.S. citizen children. We take him at his word when he says to Dana Bash he ‘we will find them, we will get them out.’ We take him at his word when he says to Chuck Todd, ‘they have to go.’ We take him at his word when he focuses almost exclusively on Mexican immigrants and Mexico as a source country for the challenges facing U.S. immigration policy.
“As a result, we at America’s Voice have moved from being amazed and disgusted by Trump’s racist remarks about Mexican immigrants as ‘rapists’ and ‘criminals’ to being appalled and alarmed by Trump’s xenophobic and radical immigration policy proposals.
“We are confident that the immigration reform movement and our allies will make sure Trump’s policy ideas never get implemented. But imagine, as a thought experiment, what it would look like and be like if his ideas were to become a reality: Immigration agents roaming Latino neighborhoods; a massive increase in the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants; U.S citizen kids having their citizenship and passports revoked; weeping families being ripped apart; immigrant workers being pushed out of jobs and into a burgeoning informal sector of exploited labor; entire industries, from agriculture to hospitality to childcare and beyond, facing existential threats; a sharp economic downturn due to the disruption in the labor market; a massive wave of resistance and conflict throughout America; allies around the world denouncing America for human rights abuses….
“In short, it would turn out to be one of America’s darkest chapters.
“Sure, we get it. Trump has turned the election into a reality show, and he excels at it. He is unlikely to be the nominee, much less the President. But his recent foray into specific immigration policy is a dangerous new turn. He is challenging the American people, and the Republican Party specifically, by putting down the dog whistle and picking up the bullhorn. We’re no longer using coded non-racialized language for enforcement-only and immigration reform never such as ‘secure the border first.’ We’re no longer talking about Romney’s off-putting tone towards Latino immigrants and his mistaken embrace of ‘self-deportation.’ We’re talking about the frontrunner for the Republican nomination calling Mexican immigrants – and by implication, all Latino immigrants – criminals, rapists and grifters. We’re talking about the frontrunner making unsubstantiated accusations about conspiracies hatched by a friendly neighbor and largest trading partner. We’re talking about a frontrunner throwing a match on the racialized fumes of modern-day nativism.
“Let’s not kid ourselves. This rhetoric and radicalism is something new, something dangerous, something that deserves to be aggressively countered by people who believe in an America that is permanently evolving in order to become a more perfect union.”