Trump’s mass deportation plan symbolizes American greatness?

Donald Trump, 2016, Make America great Again
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Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate in the GOP primary, has a strange way of expressing his “love” for Latinos. After categorizing Mexican immigrants as drug dealers, criminals and rapists in mid-June, later that month on a Virginia golf course he bizarrely utters, “Latinos love Trump and I love them.” As the saying goes, with friends like Trump, who needs enemies?  

Now, two months later, Trump doubles down on his nativist positions against immigrants. On his official website for president and in a recent interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd, Trump elaborated on his extremist views towards one of the most vulnerable groups in this country: undocumented immigrants. While many of his fellow Republican candidates for president argue for some form of second-class “legal status” for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., Trump mercilessly argues for the mass deportation of all of undocumented immigrants. The cost of detaining, processing and deporting all undocumented immigrants, according to several experts, falls in the range of $100-$200 billion. This doesn’t include hundreds of billions of dollars for future enforcement-only measures. Does this make Trump a fiscal conservative, as he claims to be?  

{mosads}This preposterous position, which deserves to be quickly condemned by all presidential candidates, including President Obama, is popular among Republican voters. According to a poll conducted by CNN-ORC, 63 percent of Republicans agree with Trump in deporting all undocumented immigrants. If Republican leaders believe that they can gain a significant portion of the Latino vote to win the White House with their leading candidate and large portion of their membership in support of such a hostile position towards Latino immigrants and other ethnic groups, like Asian immigrants, they will surely taste defeat in 2016. 

In 2012, for example, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his “self-deport” immigration policy garnered him only 27 percent of the Latino vote and a mere 26 percent of Asian American vote. Not a winning formula in appealing to two of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the nation. For example, according to Latino Decisions—a leading polling group—in order to prevail in 2016, Republicans must secure 47 percent of the Latino vote, nationally, with similar thresholds in key battleground states. Given this scenario, it’s impossible for Trump or any other Republican presidential candidate to defeat Hilary Clinton, the expected Democratic nominee, with the inhumane onslaughts against honest, hard-working and family-oriented Latino immigrants.  

Speaking of family-oriented policies, to keep undocumented Latino immigrants together as families, Trump also proposes to deport them as family units, including youth protected by President Obama’s executive order, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DREAMers. Adding insult to injury, Trump, should he become the 45th president of the United States, proposes to strip citizenship from U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Concretely, Trump aims to change the Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, which stipulations: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” I wonder if former President George W. Bush would consider this “compassionate conservatism?”  

These hostile proposals towards immigrants represent a recurring trend in American history. From anti-Chinese immigrant laws in the 1800s to the mass incarceration of Japanese immigrants and their offspring during WWII to the mass deportation of Mexican immigrants and their descendants in the mid-1900s under “Operation Wetback,” Asian and Latino immigrants have historically experienced deplorable conditions in this country.  

In announcing his heartless immigration policies, Trump wants to go back in U.S. history to “Make America Great Again!”

Huerta is an assistant professor of Urban & Regional Planning and Ethnic & Women’s Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is the author of Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm by San Diego State University Press (2013).

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