Issue Report: Deporting illegal immigrants in the US

Should the US adopt policies to deport all illegal immigrants?

Illegal immigration is a significant issue in the United States. While some advocate for deporting all illegal immigrants, others say it is too difficult, particularly in the context of there being somewhere between 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Some of the questions involved in the debate include: Is mass deportation feasible? Has it been successful in the past? Did Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, and Truman have mass deportation campaigns? Is deportation economical? How much do illegal immigrants cost Americans? How much do they add to the American economy? How much would the actual logistical operation of a mass deportation campaign cost? Is a mass deportation campaign moral? Is it fair to communities that include illegal and legal immigrants? Is it fair to legal immigrants that had to wait in line and that may resent illegal immigrants? Is it critical to national security, and protecting US citizens and families? Is it consistent with American ideals of inclusiveness? What are the politics of mass deportation? Do Democrats oppose it because they see hispanics as likely supporters? Overall, is mass deportation a good idea? While President Obama deported many illegal immigrants during his tenure as President, the Trump administration has vowed to deport even more. While much of this effort has focused on criminal offenders that are illegal immigrants, this debate centers on whether deportations should extend to immigrants whose only criminal offense was crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa.

Feasibility: Is mass deportation a viable option?

US is capable of deporting all illegal immigrants

CNN’s Lou Dobbs said that, “When this president and open-borders, illegal-alien-amnesty advocates say, ‘You can’t deport them,’ my answer is, ‘You wanna bet?’ Because this is the United States.”[1]

Deporting illegal immigrants in smaller numbers is feasible

Ian de Silva. "How to Deport 10 Million Illegal Aliens." Human Events. May 18th, 2006

“no one is seriously talking about mass deportation, for anyone with a modicum of common sense knows we could not round up all the illegal aliens at once. […] However, we can round them up in smaller numbers, and over time, the cumulative effect of round-ups will have an undeniably deterrent effect.”

Illegal aliens can be compelled to leave on their own

Ian de Silva. "How to Deport 10 Million Illegal Aliens." Human Events. May 18th, 2006

“Since illegal aliens came here on their own, they should be made to leave here on their own. Call this self-repatriation. In effect, it is deporting them without having to formally deport them en masse. And it would be infinitely cheaper for the American taxpayers.”

Path to citizenship is more difficult than deportation

Joe Guzzardi, English Instructor at Lodi Adult School. “Joe Feels Good About Immigration Bill…” June 2, 2006: “S. 2611 is not administratively manageable. Has anyone wondered how many hundreds of millions of pieces of paper would have to be processed to legalize tens of millions of aliens? Forget it.”[2]

Feasible to deport illegals; lack of will is only problem

General statements in favor of deporting illegals from the US

John McCain said during a July interview on KQTH-FM in Tuscon: “No amnesty. Many of them need to be sent back.”[3]

Deporting 13 million illegal immigrants is not possible

To send 12 million illegal immigrants abroad by plane would require about 30,000 flights. To deport that many people by bus would be cheaper, but would still require 240,000 bus loads. Furthermore, these assumptions neglect both the possibility of trial, and the fact that illegal immigrants come from places other than Mexico.

Each illegal immigrant has to be arrested/deported individually.

Mass deportation would involve a broad campaign on an individual level, including finding, arresting, charging, processing, and transporting each of the 15 or so million illegal immigrants in question. Because this all has to be done on an individual basis, one illegal immigrant at a time, it becomes nearly impossible, or at least prohibitively expensive.

Deportation is not feasible; legalization is only option

Michael R. Bloomberg, MBA, 108th Mayor of the City of New York, in a July 5, 2006: “We need to get real about the people who are now living in this country illegally – in many cases raising families and paying taxes. The idea of deporting these 11 or 12 million people – about as many as live in the entire state of Pennsylvania – is pure fantasy. Even if we wanted to, it would be physically impossible to carry out. If we attempted it – and it would be perhaps the largest round-up and deportation in world history – the social and economic consequences would be devastating. Let me ask you: Would we really want to spend billions of dollars on a round-up and deportation program that would split families in two – only to have these very same people and millions more, illegally enter our country again? Of course not. America is better than that – and smarter than that. There is only one practical solution, and it is a solution that respects the history of our nation: Offer those already here the opportunity to earn permanent status and keep their families together.”[4]

Past deportations: Have any past deportations been successful?

Mass deportation has been successful in the past

"It's time to deport illegals." Napa Valley Register Letter to the Editor. March 17th, 2010

“Bring back President Hoover, who in the Great Depression ordered the deportation of all illegal aliens to make jobs available to American citizens that desperately needed work! Bring back President Truman, who deported more than two million illegals after World War II to create jobs for returning veterans. Bring back President Eisenhower, who deported 13 million Mexican nationals. It was done so veterans would have a better chance at jobs. If they could deport the illegals back then, they could sure do it today.”

No past administration deported close to 13 million illegals

"Hoover, Truman, and Ike." July 9th, 2010

“Q: Did Eisenhower deport 13 million illegal immigrants? Did Hoover and Truman use mass deportations to open jobs for U.S. citizens? A: No. Nothing close to 13 million persons were deported during any administration.”

No past administration engaged in full deportation campaign

Mae M. Ngai, a historian now at Columbia University: “none of these presidents presided over any general deportation campaign.”[5]

Economics: Will the deportation of all illegal immigrants support the economy?

Illegal immigrants crowd-out Americans for social services.

Because illegal immigrants use social services, they crow-out American citizens for those social services, in addition to making them more expensive. These government expenses include government welfare, housing, food, and shelter. This is an injustice, and a major economic expensive for US citizens, all which justify deportation.

Exploiting cheap labor is no justification for allowing illegals

In a letter to Sen. William Fulbright, Eisenhower quoted a report in The New York Times that said, “The rise in illegal border-crossing by Mexican ‘wetbacks’ (rooted from the watery route taken by the Mexican immigrants across the Rio Grande) to a current rate of more than 1,000,000 cases a year has been accompanied by a curious relaxation in ethical standards extending all the way from the farmer-exploiters of this contraband labor to the highest levels of the Federal Government.”[6]

Costs of deportation made up for by savings to taxpayers

Edwin S. Rubenstein, MA, President of Edwin S. Rubenstein (ESR) Research Economic Consultants, in a Jan. 26, 2006 article entitled “No-one’s Suggesting Mass Deportation—But It Would Pay For Itself,”: “even if $206 billion was a reasonable cost estimate, mass deportation would be well worth it. Just consider the economic burden illegal aliens impose on the rest of us… Total fiscal benefits of deportation are thus estimated at $51 billion per year… At this rate, mass deportation would pay for itself in about four years. Plus, of course, we’d get America back.”[7]

Mass deportation from US would be very expensive

A Center for American Progress study released in March of 2010 concluded that a strategy aimed at deporting the nation’s population of illegal immigrants would cost the government approximately $285 billion over five years. (A deportation-only policy would amount to $922 in new taxes for “every man, woman, and child in this country).” In separate research released in January, UCLA professor Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda found that if undocumented immigrants were removed from the economy, it would reduce U.S. GDP by $2.6 trillion over ten years.

Illegal immigrants significantly contribute to US economy

"The costs of mass deportation." Center for American Progress. March 2010

“legalization of undocumented immigrants and more flexible immigration channels would significantly expand the economy—by a cumulative $1.5 trillion in gross domestic product over 10 years—through increased consumer spending, higher tax receipts, and other related factors. A deportation approach, by contrast, would have the cumulative effect of draining $2.5 trillion over 10 years from the U.S. economy. That is a $4 trillion swing in GDP depending on which policy approach we adopt.”

Deporting illegals would be economically damaging

“The GOP’s Immigration Fumble.” The Wall Street Journal. Aug. 4, 2002: “Deporting them for the duration of the application process would break up families. It also would disrupt businesses that depend on foreign labor for jobs that Americans don’t want… The U.S. needs policies in place that recognize the economic realities that come with a long, porous border between an immensely rich country and a poor one. We need programs that will legalize the status of foreigners who are here already and contributing to our economy.”[8]

Path to citizenship forces illegals to pay back taxes.

It is possible to reclaim lost tax revenue from illegals by integrating and forcing them to pay back taxes and fines. This is not possible if the US deports them all.

Morality: Is mass deportation of illegal immigrants morally acceptable?

Illegal aliens have no moral right to remain in the US

Ian de Silva. "How to Deport 10 Million Illegal Aliens." Human Events. May 18th, 2006

“As a legal immigrant and naturalized American who waited years for a green card, I mince no words when I say I have no sympathy whatsoever for illegal aliens. They have no right to be here, and their claim that their marches are the latest struggle in civil rights is poppycock. At this rate, a burglar who invades your house will have an equal claim of ownership to your house merely because he is inside the house.”

Illegals should be deported, not given amnesty

Jim Gilchrist, MBA, CPA, Founder and President of The Minuteman Project, in a May 31, 2007 Global Politician interview titled “Jim Gilchrist of Minuteman Project on Immigration, Terror, Elections”: “I’m pro-deportation or if you want to use a nicer word, pro-repatriation. You cannot have a defeatist attitude towards the problem and have a solution. The repatriation of illegals must begin with a recognition of the problem and a plan. We may be called names, but the names our grandchildren will call us will be worse when they have to live in a destroyed country. There must be a multi-faceted approach, including arresting illegals and also cutting off social welfare programs to them.”[9]

Deporting illegal immigrants maintains moral goal of security.

The primary purpose of the government is to maintain national security of its people. Deporting illegal immigrants, who potentially pose a security risk to US citizens, is morally consistent with US aims to protect its citizens.

Deporting illegals not akin to expulsion of Native American.

You can not use the trail of tears as a acceptable and relevant argument. The topic is whether deporting illegals is moral. The cheeroke were legally aloud to be there but after losing a war, the U.S.A kicked them out. Illegal aliens have no ethical claim to remain.

Deportation disrupts immigrant families

The Wall Street Journal, in its Aug. 4, 2002 editorial titled “The GOP’s Immigration Fumble,” offered the following: “Deporting them for the duration of the application process would break up families.”

Trail of Tears demonstrates injustice of mass deportation.

In all some ninety-thousand Indians were relocated. The Cherokee were among the last to go. Some reluctantly agreed to move. Others were driven from their homes at bayonet point. Almost two thousand of them died along the route they remembered as the Trail of Tears. This demonstrates the tragedy that is any deportation event.

US can help shield illegal immigrants from hardship.

As the world’s leading superpower, it is the responsibility of the United States to serve as a haven for immigrants escaping devastating conditions. Many immigrants are fleeing from famine, war, political strife, or religious persecution. It is a responsibility, and/or merely a good act, to protect these people by allowing them to take refuge and start new lives in the United States.

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