President Donald J. Trump says that he'll be keeping one of his main campaign promises to his red-meat loving supporters -- deport an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in America. He's been aided and abetted in this by his supine and cowardly colleagues in the United States Congress, and their shameful abnegation of the legal authority to deal with matters of immigration. They have been silent and have not moved to rein in Trump's wild and unrelenting blitzkrieg on a vulnerable defenseless group.
Trump's strutting bombast, reminiscent of a Third World generalissimo, acting and talking tough to a group of people that cannot fight back, that have no rights that American citizens need bother themselves with, and siccing the army and law enforcement on them, is not tough but cowardly and reprehensible. The fact that undocumented immigrants in the main (over 90% of them) are carefully law abiding, are not entitled to services that ordinary Americans routinely use, draw no social security payments, pensions or other entitlements, is lost on a man who sees the undocumented as a convenient football and scapegoat to exploit for cheap political gains.
Wrapped up in Trump's inflammatory rhetoric is a stark lack of details surrounding his grandiose "tremendous" plans for immigration and its long-delayed reform. Admittedly, his words and rhetoric has galvanized the political right even though he doesn't mention that criminalizing and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants would cost a pretty penny. Indeed, Donald Trump's immigration plan is, such as it is, on the surface, is huge in every aspect -- including its preliminary price tag.
Yes, think $166 billion on the low end.
And he wants to get things rolling during his first 100 days in office. But that's easier said than done and he's finding that you just can't whip up an Executive Order and, hey presto! Magic happens. So in the interim as reality sets in and seething after initial setbacks in the Appeals Courts, he's doubling down on his tough-on-illegal-immigration rhetoric and pushing to deport everyone here "illegally," ramping up immigration enforcement nationally, and even calling for an end to birthright citizenship. "As far as immigration's concerned, we need the wall," Trump says. "We want people to come in. I want people to come in. They have to be wonderful people. They have to come in legally."
Beyond repeatedly claiming without any assurances that "Mexico will pay for the wall," Trump has been tight-lipped about what building over 1,000 miles of wall along the US/Mexico border or the other ramifications of private land, scared spaces and environmental protection issues. His supporters and a now-silent Congress have not challenged him on the specifics of building his wall and deportment of millions that is the cornerstone of his immigration plan.
From all projections and conservative analyses the cost of Trump's mass deportation plan will be in the vicinity of $143.3 billion. In January 2011, Kumar Kibble -- then the deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Obama Administration -- told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that it costs approximately $12,500 to deport one individual immigrant from the United States. So you do the math - multiply that by 11.3 million -- the projected size of the undocumented immigrant population in 2014 -- and you get $141.3 billion.[Source: the Pew Research Center www.pewresearch.org ]. But the Center for American Progress [www.americanprogress.org] pegs the per-person rate a little bit lower, at $10,070 -- giving Trump's deportation plan a bit of a discount, at $114 billion.
Still, that's just the estimated costs for the physical removal process. Unaccounted for are bigger enforcement costs that go beyond the actual deportation program. In a 2016 report, the American Action Forum projected that it would cost $419.6 billion to $619.4 billion to deport everyone here illegally -- tallying not just the price for removing each person, but the accompanying enforcement costs to prevent recurring future illegal immigration. Then there is the time factor that could further jack up costs significantly since deporting all over 11 million people is not something that can be completed in two presidential terms. The best projections are that it will take about two decades -- 20 years or more -- to complete this onerous and time-consuming task, according to the AAF.
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