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Hullabaloo


Friday, May 20, 2016

 
The cost of Trump's agenda

by digby














The New York Times did a story on the logistics of Trump's most important agenda item: the wall and deportation of all undocumented immigrants. Yes, it's as absurd as it sounds:
Central to Mr. Trump’s campaign, and to his national security strategy, is his intent to clamp down on illegal immigration, using a vast deportation “force” to relocate people to the other side of a wall, funded by Mexico, that would stretch nearly the length of the southern border.

Mr. Trump has suggested he will flesh out his ideas in a forthcoming speech. But experts across many fields who have analyzed his plans so far warn that they would come at astronomical costs — whoever paid — and would in many ways defy the logic of science, engineering and law.

Mr. Trump has a simple plan to reduce the population of 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States: Deport them.

How? He says he would follow the example of the military-style roundups authorized by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. The initiative, known as Operation Wetback, expelled hundreds of thousands of Mexicans.

Mr. Trump contends that the start of deportations would show immigrants he meant business and prompt many to leave on their own, and that it would take about two years to finish the job. There, the specifics end.

Former senior immigration and border officials are skeptical, to put it mildly. Deportations have peaked recently at about 400,000 a year, so the increase in scale to reach Mr. Trump’s goal would be exponential. And many legal procedures and constitutional constraints on the police did not exist in the Eisenhower era.

“I can’t even begin to picture how we would deport 11 million people in a few years where we don’t have a police state, where the police can’t break down your door at will and take you away without a warrant,” said Michael Chertoff, who led a significant increase in immigration enforcement as the secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush.

Finding those immigrants would be difficult, experts said. Police officers across the country would need to ask people for proof of residency or citizenship during traffic stops and street encounters. The Border Patrol would need highway checkpoints across the Southwest and near the Canadian border. To avoid racial profiling, any American could expect to be stopped and asked for papers.

To achieve millions of deportations, the Obama administration’s focus on deporting serious criminals would have to be scrapped, said Julie Myers Wood, a director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, under Mr. Bush. “You would not care if the person had a criminal record,” she said.

Large-scale raids, rare under Mr. Obama, would resume at farms, factories, restaurants and construction sites, with agents arresting hundreds of workers and poring over company records. And prosecutors would bring criminal charges against employers hiring unauthorized immigrants.

Mr. Trump has said he would triple ICE’s deportation officers, to 15,000 from about 5,000. But even if that could be accomplished quickly — difficult given the vetting and training required — it would still be insufficient, experts said. The F.B.I. and other agencies would have to set aside some of their missions to help.

John Sandweg, who led ICE for seven months under Mr. Obama, said wholesale deportations could make it easier for immigrant gang members and drug traffickers to escape detection. “If the agents are looking for volume, they won’t spend the time to do the detective work tracking down the high-value bad guy who has fake documents, the hardened criminals in the shadows,” he said.

To prevent flight after arrest, the authorities would have to detain most immigrants awaiting deportation. Existing facilities, with about 34,000 beds, would have to be expanded to hold at least 300,000, Mr. Sandweg estimated, perhaps with tens of thousands of people in detention camps, similar to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Most deportations must be approved by judges. But backlogs in the 57 immigration courts are already severe, with waits as long as two years for a first hearing. The federal government would have to open dozens of emergency courts and hire hundreds of judges, shortcutting the painstaking selection process.

No kidding. It seems impossible to believe that he could accomplish this inane policy. It's outrageous. But, here's something that will send a chill down your spine.

A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States. He does so in a strange order that quotes extensively from movie scripts and that alleges a conspiracy of attorneys “somewhere in the halls of the Justice Department whose identities are unknown to this Court.”

It appears to be, as several immigration advocates noted shortly after the order was handed down, an effort to intimidate immigrants who benefit from certain Obama administration programs from participating in those programs, lest their personal information be turned over to people who wish them harm. As Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director for United We Dream, said in a statement, the judge is “asking for the personal information of young people just to whip up fear” — fear, no doubt, of what could happen if anti-immigrant state officials got their hands on this information. Or if the information became public.

The judge is Andrew Hanen, who conservative attorneys opposed to President Obama’s immigration policies appear to have sought out specifically because of his belief that America does not treat immigrants with sufficient hostility. Texas v. United States was filed shortly after President Obama announced policy changes that would permit close to 5 million undocumented immigrants to temporarily work and remain in the country. As the name of the case suggests, the lead plaintiff is the State of Texas, yet the Texas Attorney General’s office did not file this case in Austin, the state’s capitol. Instead, they filed it over five hours away in the town of Brownsville.

Yeah. Trump could never get away with implementing his plans.  Don't worry about it.

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