Mimesis Law
6 August 2020

Trump’s Deportation Plan, and Why Olbermann is (Obviously) Right

Apr. 28, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — Sometimes, it is incumbent upon us to state the obvious, to explain why something is “obviously” right, wrong, or misguided.  If anything, it helps clear the air and it may raise the level of discourse.  And Trump’s plan for deporting 11 million undocumented people from the U.S. is worse than wrong or misguided.  It is impossible.  Absent a voluntary and collective exodus of those without papers, it cannot happen.  In the latest BBC News Magazine, Keith Olbermann takes on Trump:

Lost in the most consistently astonishing US presidential campaign since the 1864 Democrats ran on a platform of conceding the Civil War, is a disturbing question that seems to bring into doubt the very premise of the American experiment. Exactly how would Donald Trump deport 11 million undocumented migrants from the US?

Who does and doesn’t fit his perception of who belongs here was the ground zero of his campaign. The demonisation of Mexicans, the wall, the asset freeze, the elimination of birthright citizenship, much of the white-power undertone to his rhetoric – all of it mainlines back to this one premise.

And the premise came to the fore again on Thursday when, on national television, Trump told a self-declared supporter that it didn’t matter if her undocumented relatives had been here for a quarter of a century, they would be deported.

Let’s put aside our lizard brain’s response to Trump’s xenophobic ravings, and the fact that our current president has done a very fine job at deporting people, a much better job than his predecessors.  Instead, let’s focus on the logistics required for Trump’s grand plan for (mostly) brown people.

First, to deport someone, you must take them into immigration custody, serve them with a charging document known as a Notice to Appear, and they must show up to court if they are not locked up.  Then, the Department of Homeland Security has to prove the charges of deportation, or the “respondent” may concede deportation and/or leave the country voluntarily.

If someone’s already inside the U.S., it will be up to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, sometimes in tandem with local law enforcement or jails, to round these people up.  Customs and Border Patrol keeps people out, while ICE is charged with detaining “aliens” and putting them in the process.  With ICE currently employing 20,000, most of whom are not field enforcement agents, it may be tough to collar 11 million people residing illegally.  Some may (gasp!) resist or hide from ICE, and even if we triple the number of agents as Trump’s campaign promises to do, the numbers are in Pepe’s and Juanita‘s favor.  And the immigration jails, which are incompetently run by private corporations, are so clogged that there’s been instances of people begging to taken inside to be deported, only to be begrudgingly allowed in (eventually).

If some of those detained by ICE refuse to sign off on their deportation and ask to see an immigration judge and fight back, it gets worse.  There are 486,206 pending cases in immigration court right now, with each case staying in the court system an average of 800 days (about 26.5 months), with some cases taking over five years to clear the system.  The number does not include the people seeking asylum with the immigration service known as USCIS, most of whom will be sent to court once they are denied “affirmative” asylum.  Trump’s 11 million figure is fading into the distance…

The system is so out of whack that even those who are at the end of their federal sentences, and already in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, and who are willing to sign off on their deportations (for a myriad of reasons, but mainly to avoid serving another prison sentence with ICE), have a very hard time getting ICE to swing by the BOP so they can sign the deportation papers. That’s right, even admitted criminals who are already in government custody have a hard time getting ordered deported from the U.S.

Deportation in the United States has been in place since 1788, when the state of Massachusetts joined other states in enacting a statute that banned those likely to seek public relief. Today, if you’re an immigrant, whoever petitions for your admission has to affirm under penalty of perjury that you will not become a pauper once you enter.

In between, we’ve had everything from the Alien and Sedition Acts (which sought to deport, among others, dissidents during time of war) to the self-explanatory “Operation Wetback” from the 1950s.  It means that serious and thinking people should be unfazed by politically motivated and politically incorrect backlash against “illegals,” and that it always helps when dishonest and ludicrous proposals are called for what they are.  And this one is obvious.

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