On Sunday evening, Donald Trump once again fell back on his anti-immigrant rhetoric in order to please his xenophobic base during an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes." The president-elect said he has plans for a mass deportation of undocumented immigrants as soon as he takes office in January--and he's lying to justify it.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump said in the interview. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”
This would be absolutely fine if the millions of people Trump is planning to deport actually had violent criminal records, but they don't. According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, the number of undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes is nowhere near the 2 or 3 million he claims. The institute estimated that there are about 820,000 immigrants in the country with criminal records. However, that number also includes thousands of people whose only crime was crossing the border without proper documentation.
Trump went on to say that after he carries out the largest mass deportation effort since President Dwight Eisenhower's shameful "Operation Wetback" in the 1950s, he will figure out what to do with all of the other immigrants:
“After the border is secure and after everything gets normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that they’re talking about who are terrific people, they’re terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that,” Trump said. “But before we make that determination ... it’s very important, we are going to secure our border.”
First of all, if he actual deports 3 million immigrants, there will be no normalization afterward. He will have ripped millions of families apart. Secondly, he has not explained how he is going to determine what his idea of a "terrific person" is. From everything we can tell, he thinks he is a terrific person but from the looks of cities across our country, hundreds of thousands of people disagree with that assessment. Finally, how exactly is he going to "secure the border"?
Throughout his entire presidential campaign, Trump promised his "poorly educated" supporters that he was going to build a big (beautiful) wall along the Mexican-American border. But during the interview, Trump admitted that building the Great Wall of 'Murica might not be entirely possible and said he'll have to use a fence in some places.
President Bush's administration had the same bright idea to put a fence up along the border and that idea blossomed into the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The government spent one billion taxpayer dollars on a failed virtual border fence and then they started putting up actual fencing. This fencing has had a horrific impact on wildlife along the Southern border and has even caused devastating floods in parts of Mexico. In addition, the geography of the border makes it incredibly difficult to put a barrier along it. According to Vice:
The winding path of the Rio Grande River makes building a wall complicated, and the current fence more than a mile north of the river in places. Much of the land — about two-thirds of the border, according to a Government Accountability Office report — is privately owned by U.S. citizens. Some of these border-property owners have been trapped in a no-man’s land where their homes and property lie south of the wall but are still within the boundaries of the United States.
The only thing Trump accomplished with his first interview since he sailed to an Electoral College victory on Tuesday (while losing the popular vote) was prove that he still has no idea what he is talking about. He is about to become the 45th President of the United States and he doesn't understand even the basic facts behind immigration. And instead of admitting that, he simply regurgitates the same inhumane policies and lies he promised while he was running for office.
It's absolutely shameful that this man is going to sit in the most powerful position in our country and the harm he is going to do to the families of immigrants will take generations to undo.