Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Donald Trump's Racist Immigration Plan

In response:

None of these corrupt politicians will admit the US and Mexican elite will not change the decades-long co-dependency of undocumented labor, remittances sent home and our border security complex that not only depends upon illegal immigration, but illegal drugs too. 

How Trump's deportation plan failed 62 years ago

Updated 6:52 AM ET, Tue January 19, 2016

CNN)Donald Trump has vaulted to the top of the Republican presidential pack with bold assertions -- and few policy details.
The rare exception: his immigration plan.
As president, Trump says he would eject some 11 million undocumented workers from the country. He cites a specific model for his proposal: "Operation Wetback," an aggressive and unprecedented sweep by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the mid-1950s that plucked Mexican laborers from fields and ranches in targeted raids, bused them to detention centers along the border, and ultimately sent many of them deep into the interior of Mexico, some by airlift, others on cargo boats that typically hauled bananas.
During an interview with Jake Tapper that aired Sunday on "State of the Union," Tapper noted that many people recall the 1954 operation as a "shameful chapter in American history."
"Well, some people do, and some people think it was a very effective chapter," Trump replied. "When they brought them back (to Mexico), they removed some, everybody else left," Trump said. "And it was very successful, everyone said. So I mean, that's the way it is. Look, we either have a country, or we don't. If we don't have strong borders, we have a problem."
    Trump's assertion that he could replicate that kind of effort as president, however, ignores how much the country has changed since 1954 and the impact that a massive deportation effort would have on the modern U.S. economy, according to interviews with historians who have studied the immigration tactics of the period, a former Border Patrol agent involved in those operations and immigration experts along the Southwest border. These conversations reveal a deeply flawed operation that even at the time failed to achieve its goal of solving America's illegal immigration problem.
    While many of Trump's supporters at his rallies say they favor the kind of operation he has proposed, he has few defenders among immigration experts and academics. In interviews, most said that what Trump is proposing would be virtually impossible to achieve without spending hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.
    Trump has tapped into voter anger with his rhetoric about getting tough on undocumented immigrants, a theme he highlighted in his first political ad. He has cited the operations of the mid-1950s as a defining point in history that illustrates how large-scale dragnets could remove hundreds of thousands of people in an intensive crackdown. Though immigration officials claim that "Operation Wetback" removed about a million people from the country, Trump asserts that it would be logistically feasible to use the same techniques to take away the estimated 11 million.
    "We're rounding them up in a very humane way, a very nice way," Trump said when he cited the operation as his touchstone during an interview last fall with CBS' "60 Minutes."
    Trump also highlighted the tactics of "Operation Wetback" -- which drew its name from an offensive racial term used to describe Mexicans who swam across the Rio Grande to enter the U.S. -- during the Fox Business debate in November when he refuted a rival's assertion that it would be impossible to remove 11 million people from the United States. The key to the Eisenhower administration's success, Trump said, was moving undocumented immigrants "way south" within Mexico to discourage them from returning.
      "They never came back," Trump said. "Dwight Eisenhower.... You don't get nicer. You don't get friendlier."
      But even the conservative candidate emerging as the greatest threat to Trump as the first votes near rejects Trump's aggressive approach.
      Ted Cruz told Tapper in a recent "State of the Union" interview that the U.S. should catch those who came here illegally through normal law enforcement practices, not through round-ups.
      "No, I don't intend to send jackboots to knock on your door and every door in America," Cruz told Tapper. "That's not how we enforce the law for any crime."

      Inflated Deportation Numbers?

      It is difficult to determine exactly how effective the 1954 operation was in permanently removing undocumented laborers from the U.S. because records from that time are incomplete. But scholars who have studied that period say it is impossible to verify the Border Patrol's claim that more than 1.3 million people were apprehended and left the country in 1954.
      At the end of the summer of 1954, said UCLA historian Kelly Lytle Hernandez, the U.S. Border Patrol announced "they had solved the entire undocumented immigration population through this demonstration of incredible police force" by removing more than a million people from the country.
      A two-minute history of 'Operation Wetback'


        A two-minute history of 'Operation Wetback'


      A two-minute history of 'Operation Wetback' 01:51
      "The problem is that's not true at all," said Hernandez, the author of "Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol."
        In fact, Hernandez said that border patrol line agents—a force of just 1,079 people in 1954—spent the vast majority of their time during the 1954 operation negotiating "back room deals with employers" and growers. Their goal was to force growers to stop using undocumented workers and hire legal Mexican laborers known at that time as "braceros."
        The bracero program began in the early 1940s to help the U.S. handle labor shortages in the Southwest during World War II. Under an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, a defined number of temporary contract laborers from Mexico were permitted to work in the United States, usually for a year, and were guaranteed a certain wage as well as housing and medical services while working in the country.
        There were many more applicants from Mexico than jobs, and many growers balked at providing the specified wage, as well as other services that they did not offer to domestic workers like housing. But the bracero program became a magnet for immigrants from Mexico, and many entered the country illegally after they could not obtain a legal slot through the program.
        The so-called "Operation Wetback" was intended to curb that illegal migration, and many growers ultimately did comply.
        "The one million deportations that are often cited for 1954 are absolutely inaccurate and false," Hernandez said. "A large number of people who were being apprehended during the summer of 1954 -- and prior to that, and after that -- were being apprehended multiple times, not just within a single year, but within a single day."
        Documents also show that some of the people counted as being ejected from the country were never even questioned. Some were merely spotted crossing the border back into Mexico and counted as "voluntary departures" by Border Patrol agents.
          The number of apprehensions of illegal workers fell precipitously in the years that followed "Operation Wetback" until the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan. Since then, the number of undocumented workers apprehended, removed or returned to their native countries has ebbed and flowed over the years.
          There were 1.16 million apprehensions in the 2004 fiscal year, during the presidency of George W. Bush, for example, but that number fell to just over 700,000 in the 2008 fiscal year as Bush was preparing to leave office. Under President Obama in 2014, nearly 500,000 people were apprehended by the Border Patrol and almost all of those apprehensions were along the southwest border.
          Doris Meissner, who was Commissioner of the U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service between 1993 and 2000, noted that deportations reached their highest point in history -- more than 438,000 -- under President Obama in 2013. She questioned how the system could handle the numbers of deportations that Trump is talking about without a significant increase in federal spending and substantial changes to the current legal system. Trump has proposed tripling the number of ICE officers to ramp up the number of deportations each year.
          "If 400,000 (deportations) is the most the system has been able to produce when it was really working with a hyper focus, then projecting that out to 11 million, you would have substantial costs," said Meissner, who directs immigration policy work at the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

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