Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Is Trump Already Flip-Flopping on His Campaign Vow to Mass Deport Illegal Workers?

by Nomad

For those who supported the Donald Trump's tough-guy approach on illegal immigration and his vow to begin mass deportation, it's starting to look more and more like Trump was all talk. 

Trump Re-Tooled by Ryan 

On Sunday, the president-elect and House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that, contrary to what Trump had said ad infinitum, there was no plan to begin mass deportations. 
With Trump and Pence sitting beside him, Speaker Ryan explained:
We’re not focused on, we are not planning on erecting a deportation force. Donald Trump’s not planning on that.”
Ryan stressed:
“We should put people’s minds at ease, that is not what our focus is. We’re focused on securing the border.”
Instead, they would be looking for "a solution that doesn’t include mass deportations, that involves getting people to earn a legal status while we fix the rest of illegal immigration.”

Earning legal status? Isn't that another way of saying those taboo words- conditional amnesty?  It all sounds suspiciously like what JEB! was proposing back in August  2016. 
His solution was described as
a rigorous path that requires individuals to pass a thorough criminal background check, pay fines, pay taxes, learn English, obtain a provisional work permit and work, not receive federal government assistance, and over an extended period of time earn legal status."
However, JEB! said, "any plan to address the status of illegal immigrants must be accompanied by a robust strategy to improve border security."

Post-election, Mr. Trump isn't looking so radical. Take away the mass deportation part and there's really not much difference between JEB! and Trump or Trump and Clinton. And make no mistake, mass deportation was the key variable of his campaign.

For all his bluster, Trump is turning out to be a run of the mill politician who makes a lot of promises but promptly breaks them the moment his jet touches down in Washington.
Compare what he was saying exactly one year ago.

No Choice

In September 2015, Mr. Trump appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes and discussed his mass deportation plan. He would, he told Scott Pelley, round up "in a very humane way" the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country and send them back to their native countries.

On the 10 November 2015, Trump participated in the first Republican debate and he was categorical about his mass deportation plan.
Take note of this exchange between Trump and Dennis Kasich.

Trump: You are going to have to send people out. Look, we either have a country or we don't have a country. We are a country of laws. [Those who entered illegally are] going to have to go out and hopefully they get back. But we have no choice if we're going to run our country properly & if we're going to be a country.

Kasich: If people think that we are going to ship 11 million people who are law-abiding, who are in this country, & somehow pick them up at their house & ship them out to Mexico, think about the families. Think about the children. It's a silly argument. It is not an adult argument. It makes no sense.

Trump: Dwight Eisenhower, a great president, moved 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border. They came back. Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn't like it. Moved them way south. They never came back. They moved 1.5 million out. We have no choice.

Deportation was a subject, Trump would later tell Megyn Kelly, that he was "not very flexible" on. Despite all that, Trump’s campaign website contained no mention of deporting the entire undocumented population.

House Speaker Ryan seems to be channeling a new and improved Trump -rather than the one that campaigned. This re-tooled Trump is now is saying we do have a choice and that choice doesn't involve mass deportation. 

In fact, there was one thing Trump neglected to tell his cheering audiences. If deportation was the solution, then they really ought to be giving a standing ovation to another man. 
The Obama administration has deported more people than any other president's administration in history. In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century.
Between 2009 and 2015 his administration has removed more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders, which doesn’t include the number of people who "self-deported" or were turned away and/or returned to their home country at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Facts are such stubborn things. Heedless of reality, Trump supporters demanded a change. And that's what their candidate offered them..at least until Sunday. 

To make things even more incoherent, on the very same day that Paul Ryan was attempting to calm things down about mass deportation, Trump gave an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes" in which he said:
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where 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.”
In other words, Trump will do the same thing Obama has been doing for the last 8 years. And he will do the same thing that JEB! advocated last year.
All this will come as a shock to a lot of people who attended his rallies. Trump toured the nation, touting this plan from morning to night. 
Presumably, a lot of unemployed workers voted for Trump based on that tough policy. He purposefully misled them into believing that solving the illegal immigration problem would lead to more Americans working
If President Dwight D. Eisenhower could do it, President Donald J.Trump could do it too.

Operation Wetback

Last September, Stephanie Gaskell, writing for Policy Mic, took a closer look at Donald Trump's remarks about Eisenhower's successful immigration policy, one he appeared last year to think was a splendid idea. What Trump was referring to was a highly-controversial program called is Operation Wetback.

This military-style operation, which began in the summer of 1954, targeted undocumented Mexican immigrants. Simply put, its goal was to drive them out of the country and back to Mexico. Eisenhower put former West Point classmate and World War II veteran, Gen. Joseph Swing in charge as commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.

With just over 1,000 border patrol agents, the operation rounded up and deported somewhere around a million people were deported. (Trump claims the number was 1.5 million but PolitiFact rated that as "half true." which really about as close as Trump ever got.)

To apprehend that number of undocumented workers presented quite a few logistical problems. (Keep in mind that Trump would, in comparison be dealing with closer to 11 million.)
One of the challenges that faced Eisenhower was keeping the illegals from immediately returning after deportation to Mexico. His solution was to take the illegals much deeper into the country, making it more difficult for them to re-enter into the U.S.
"To discourage their return, Swing arranged for buses and trains to take many aliens deep within Mexico before being set free," wrote John Dillan in the Christian Science Monitor. "Tens of thousands more were put aboard two hired ships, the Emancipation and the Mercurio. The ships ferried the aliens from Port Isabel, Texas, to Vera Cruz, Mexico, more than 500 miles south."
After being essentially dumped in the middle of Mexico, these deported immigrants were stranded without food or any means employment to buy food and shelter. The Mexico government didn't want to offer assistance. Facing extreme conditions, nearly 90 deported workers died 112 °F (44 °C) heat in July 1955.

There were also reports of physical abuse to  illegal immigrants. While most complaints concerning deportation were undocumented, there were over 11,000 formal complaints from documented bracero workers from 1954 through 1964.

Historians consider Operation Wetback a classic case of a poorly-thought-out operation that  could easily have been avoided. Lives were destroyed needlessly. Many have called it a "shameful chapter in American history" right up there with the internment camps for Americans of Japanese descent, a decade earlier.

Nonplussed, Trump nevertheless maintains Operation Wetback was a success. He might believe it but the evidence tells a different story. Even without the humanitarian objections, it was hardly the success Trump claims. Repeated illegal border crossings by those who had been previously deported; from 1960 through 1961, repeaters accounted for 20% of the total deportees.

NPR's Morning Edition, Alfonso Aguilar, the director of the Principles Project's Latino Partnership explained
Human rights were violated. People were removed to distant locations without food and water. There were many deaths, unnecessary deaths. Sometimes even U.S. citizens of Hispanic origin, of Mexican origin were removed. It was a travesty. It was terrible. Immigrants were humiliated. So to say it's a success story is ridiculous. It shows that Mr. Trump doesn't know what he's talking about.
Ultimately, it seems as though Trump was being sarcastic when he talked about mass deportations. He never really meant he wanted to repeat America's past mistakes. It was all just campaign rabble-rousing and lies.   

Thank God for small mercies.