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Trump Anti-Immigrant Plans Worse Than ‘Trail of Tears,’ Japanese -American Internment Camps

Phil Garber


June is Immigrant Heritage Month, so it is timely to focus the glare on trump’s explicit plans to create the worst and most costly nightmare that immigrants and the nation have ever endured.

The media is fixated on trump’s scandalous hush money trial and his latest scatological ranting about some bogus, bizarre plan for his assassination.

The never ending flood of lies is well planned to deflect attention from the genocidal plans of a second trump administration, notably to implement one of the largest forced displacement of human beings in history. Trump’s plans would rank in scope with the forced relocation of native Americans in the infamous “Trail of Tears,” the forced displacement of around 60,000 people of the “Five Civilized Tribes” between 1830 and 1850, and the additional thousands of Native Americans within that were ethnically cleansed by the U.S. government; the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act which empowered authorities and private citizens in free states to arrest escaped slaves and return them to their enslavers; and the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Trump’s villainous plans would be as widespread and damaging as the disastrous partition of India and the forced displacement by the Germans during World War II.

Trump consistently vilifies immigrants while he fails to mention that millions of unauthorized and undocumented immigrants are permanent U.S. residents, raising families, owning homes and businesses, paying taxes and contributing to their communities. Trump plans to tear apart these lives and communities.

Radley Balko, a journalist who writes primarily on civil liberties, cited a recent report by the Pew Research Center which estimates there are roughly 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, far, far less than trump’s claims of “probably 15 million and maybe as many as 20 million.” Deporting 15 million people would be like deporting twice the population of New York City.

According to Balko:

· Deporting 15 million people is like deporting twice the population of New York City. In 2017, ICE estimated that it cost an average of $10,854 to deport one person, or about $14,000 in today’s dollars. Deporting 15 million people would cost about $210 billion, or about 14 percent more than the annual budget of the U.S. Army.

· There are currently 69 immigration courts and 650 immigration judges. The cost for the courts is $981 million but it would explode to $26 billion to maintain the current ratio of courts and judges to deportations.

· Congress has budgeted $3.4 billion to pay the costs of detaining about 41,500 migrants a day. Trump’s plan would require increasing the capacity to 3 million migrants every day. The Cato Institute reported that adding just 1.5 million new beds would cost about $129 billion per year, or 16 times the total annual budget of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agency.

· The federal government pays for 100 to 150 removal flights per month, with around 150 deportees on each flight. In 2016, ICE flew 110,000 deportees overseas at a cost of about $2,600 each. If ICE flies the same proportion of deportees, trump’s plans would cost another $2 billion per year for those flights alone.

· Trump’s plans would require hiring 530,000 additional immigration enforcement officers. The government could ask Republican governors to activate National Guard members to carry out the plan. Currently, the Guard has 325,000 reservists. Even if half the states with Republican governors go along with the plan, that would add about 162,500 troops, still far too few for trump’s plans. If trump enlisted all 20,000 ICE agents, all 21,000 Border Patrol officers, all 37,000 FBI agents, all 5,000 DEA agents, all 2,600 ATF agents, and all 10,000 Homeland Security Investigations agents, there would still be about 282,000 enforcement agents short.

Trump has made 15 million deportations a central part of his 2024 campaign, as he ratchets up fear mongering, dehumanizing immigrants as “animals” who are “poisoning” the blood of America while making preposterous claims that other countries are emptying immigrants from their prisons and psychiatric hospitals and sending them to the U.S.

Trump and his legion of supporters have spread lies that counter expert studies. Among them, trump claims without evidence, that immigrants and children are a drain on the economy; they are more likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens; that they have lower IQs than native born Americans; and that they are a danger to public health.

Stephen Miller was trump’s top advisor and architect of the most inhumane treatment of immigrants during the first trump administration. Miller’s lifelong crusade has been to rid the country of non-white immigrants, a position he made clear through frequent contacts with far-right media where he touted explicitly racist literature like “Camp of the Saints.” The novel by Jean Raspail was published in France in 1973, and it has become popular with extremists who hold the “great replacement” or “white genocide” myth. The book was first published in the U.S. in 1994 but it didn’t foster association with the White House until trump was elected.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has listed Miller on its roster of hate groups. The SPLC noted that Miller “is credited with shaping the racist and draconian immigration policies of President Trump,” including the zero-tolerance policy that led to thousands of children being separated from their families. Miller also shaped the White House’s early Muslim ban, pushed for trump to attempt to end the popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and advised moves to halt the issuance of green cards for immigrants using the coronavirus pandemic as a rationale to do so, SPLC said.

Last November, in an interview with far-right personality, Charlie Kirk, Miller explained how trump’s deportation plans would be carried out, including sending National Guard troops from red states to ferret out undocumented immigrants in blue states and cities. The advisor said the administration would invoke a 1798 law that allows federal officials to deport immigrants without due process during wartime, under the claims that drug cartels are waging a war against the United States.

Miller said a deportation force of the National Guard, state and local police, other federal police agencies like the DEA and ATF, and if necessary, the military, “would infiltrate cities and neighborhoods, going door to door and business to business in search of undocumented immigrants.”

Miller said millions of immigrants would be interned in tent camps along the border, awaiting military planes to transport them back to their countries of origin.

Miller said that under trump, ICE agents were “elated” when told restraints and restrictions were lifted against detaining immigrants.

“Go out, make arrests. No one’s going to tell you not to put cuffs on somebody and send them home. Border Patrol was elated when we said, all this asylum, BS ends, it ends now,” Miller said. “These fake stories, these fake families, these fake asylum claims, it all stops now.”

According to Miller, if trump is reelected, he will immediately begin to implement his immigration plans “and it will be joyous, and it will be wonderful, and it will be everything you want it to be.”

Miller also has been a proponent of ending birthright citizenship, a constitutional guarantee spelled out in the Fourteenth Amendment that automatically grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. Trump also has said he would sign an executive order on his first day in office to withhold passports, Social Security numbers and other government benefits from children of undocumented immigrants born in the United States.

Last year, a coalition of MAGA factions put together “Project 2025,” their blueprint for a second Trump term.

Project 2025 was analyzed by the Niskanen Center, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. that advocates environmentalism, immigration reform, civil liberties, and strengthening social insurance around market-oriented principles. The center determined that the plans “circumvent Congress and the courts and are specifically engineered to dismantle the foundations of our immigration system.”

The analysis said the plans are “designed to cripple the existing immigration system without regard for the extraordinarily harmful effects on the health and wealth of our country. They would weaken our nation’s prosperity and security and undermine the vitality of our workforce, with far-reaching consequences for future generations of Americans.”

The trump plans would end the H1-B visa program, the only legal path for seasonal and agricultural workers to come to the U.S. to work. Immigrants with H1-B visas are currently working in fields like tech, engineering, and medicine — most of whom come from India or China.

The Project 2025 plan would cut all federal aid to colleges and universities that provide financial aid to undocumented students, including the undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, the DACA recipients.

In private conversations, trump has talked about shoring up a southern border wall with a trench stocked with snakes or alligators. He has said he wants to electrify the wall with spikes placed on top to mangle anyone who tries to breach.

Publicly, trump suggested that soldiers should shoot migrants who throw rocks. He later modified his comment and said migrants should be shot in the legs to slow them down.

If anything, trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric is worse than during his 2016 campaign.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said in a 2016 campaign statement. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

And just before the 2018 midterm elections, trump said migrants crossing the border and seeking asylum were part of an “invasion” of people who have “overrun the Mexican police, and they’ve overrun and hurt badly Mexican soldiers.”