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Trump's Trail of Tears

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Message Georgia Morley

New president-elect, Donald Trump, has a "10 Point Plan to Put America First" that will allegedly ensure jobs for American citizens and prioritize the security of American people. Trump's vision includes ending or reducing skilled labor visas and the immediate deportation of all undocumented persons living in the United States today. Trump's plan is a far cry from the greatness he claims it contains. The removal of the H-1B plan is a step away from American economic progression. Similarly, a mass deportation is inhumane and a peril to the American economy.

During a Republican Debate on Fox News in March Trump stated that he will terminate the use of H-1B as a cheap labor program. The H1-B program brings individuals that have met high qualification standards to fill a specific role that will benefit the American economy or the country's wellbeing as a whole. A variety of fees and approvals are required for the hiring of an individual through the H1-B program. The reason companies are willing to do this rather than hire an available American born citizen is that the United States faces a lack of skilled labor. A National Federation of Independent Businesses survey concluded that 44 percent of companies could find few or no qualified job applicants to fill available positions. This shortage of skilled workers is hurting the American economy. The H1-B bill can fill some of that gap. These workers are lending themselves to the growth of American companies and technological sector until we can produce a more skilled labor force.

With a cap of 65,000 visas granted annually, the program is not taking away a substantial portion of American jobs regardless. Additionally, the H1-B visas last 3 years, after which the individual can only stay in the country if he or she has gained citizenship through employment or other means. This gives highly skilled and in demand workers temporary entry into America and the prospect of becoming tax paying citizens.

Trumps plan to deport all undocumented persons currently living within U.S. boarders would decimate the U.S. economy and social wellbeing. NPR reported that in his initial campaign Trump stated, "for those here illegally today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and only one route: to return home and apply for re-entry." The physical task of removing more than 11 million persons from this country would take an immense amount of planning and resources that Trump has not spoken to. The American Action Forum estimates it would take around 20 years to bring that many people across boarders with an average cost of 10,070 dollars a person. The AAF reported that approximately 6.8 million workers in the private sector are undocumented immigrants. A removal of those workers would reduce private industry output by an estimated 381.5 billion to 623.2 billion dollars. They report also concludes that mass deportation would cause a 1 trillion dollar decrease in GDP. Economist Mark Zandi supports these claims and believes that Trump's efforts would cause a devastating recession by decreasing the supply of labor.

Additionally, the removal would stain the fabric of society. These undocumented persons are friends, family, coworkers, and loved ones of ordinary American citizens. The forced removal of these individuals will result in a wave of protests and riots that will take a large toll on American morale and spirit. What will happen when the government needs to start using force? The last thing America needs in this fragile political period is a violent display of the people versus the government, almost comparable to the Trail of Tears.

While Trump romanticizes his aggressive tactics as the key to protecting American interests, his plan will do the opposite. In recent debates and since his victory, Trump has been fluctuating his position in the area of immigration reform. He softened his claim on mass deportation in Ohio stating that he is no longer ruling out granting citizenship to those already in the United States and reconfirmed this on "60 Minutes" after his election. Similarly, before calling for a removal of the H1-B program he not only used it in his own professional line of work, but also publicly supported an increase in skilled labor visas. His inability to commit to his ideas increases my concern for his capacity to reform the immigration policy in place. Trump is steering America away from the social and economic progression that American's have worked so hard for.

Works Cited

Ben Gitis and Jacqueline Varas, "The Labor and Output Declines From Removing All Undocumented Immigrants," American Action Forum, May 5, 2016, accessed October 16, 2016.

"Fact Check: Donald Trump's Speech On Immigration," NPR, August 31, 2016, Accessed October 13, 2016.

"Donald Trump wants to deport every single illegal immigrant- could he?" BBC News, November 11, 2015, accessed October 16, 2016.

Helen Raleigh, "The Truth of the H1B Visa," Town Hall, September 5, 2015, Accessed October 16, 2016.

Jared Bernstein, "Benchmarking the candidates' debates: Just how much do presidents really influence the economy?" Washington Post, September 26, 2016, Accessed October 13, 2016.

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Georgia Morley is a second-year student at the University of Richmond studying for a degree in Political Science.
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Trump's Trail of Tears

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