It’s no secret that President-elect Donald Trump has a bone to pick with our nation’s undocumented immigrants. His hardline stance on immigration was one of the most memorable (or notorious, if you prefer) aspects of his campaign. Over the course of the election, I thought that all of his talk of building a wall may have been bluster. Many of us laughed. But as Nigel Farage, Trump’s British equivalent, said after the Brexit ruling, “You’re not laughing now, are you?”
With Trump’s charisma combined with the congress being in the hands of the GOP, I see little reason why his dreams of mass deportation and a wall couldn’t be realized. During a 60 Minutes interview with CBS, Trump elaborated on his plans.
So what are the logistics of Donald’s immigration policy? There are two primary parts of his immigration plan: securing the border and deporting illegal immigrants.
Let us first explore how Mr. Trump might go about securing the border. For instance, he said that parts of his wall might only need to be a fence instead. The talk of a wall was perhaps the most spectacular thing about his campaign: it was a much romanticized notion of putting America first. By downgrading this wall, Trump could be letting down some of his biggest fans. Nobody can forget the craziness of when a former Mexican president said that Mexico would never pay for the wall (another famous promise by Trump), and Trump declared that “the wall just got ten feet higher”.
While it may have been apparent to many people that Trump is a performer and this was all bombast, there will still be people who are disappointed to learn that, no, Trump won’t do that zany thing he said he would.
It is worth noting that, according to the BBC, the United States government has already spent seven billion dollars on fencing that doesn’t even cover the entire southern border. This brings into serious doubt Trump’s claim that he made months ago: that his comprehensive border wall (not a fence, mind you) would cost around 12 billion dollars. That’s less than twice the cost of an incomplete border fence. To construct this wall, we’re talking concrete and other materials that exceed the cost of a fence. It is no wonder, then, that Trump is considering less extreme measures.
As for Mr. Trump’s plan to deport millions of illegal immigrants, he has softened his language to include mainly criminals. While there are approximately 11 million undocumented people living here, Trump seems to realize that trying to deport them all could prove overwhelming. This could be good news for the central-Americans here illegally who have kept their noses clean. In Trump’s estimation, these bad guys could number 2 to 3 million.
Trump is also in disagreement with the GOP over a few things relating to deportation. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that Trump’s plan of a “deportation force” will not come to fruition. Mr. Ryan prefers less drastic measures, and he wants to secure the border before dealing with our giant population of illegal immigrants.
At this point, I am genuinely unsure which promises Trump will fulfill. The man is inclined to exaggerate, and we can’t forget this. But it might be wise to believe the most powerful leader in the world when he says he’s going to do something.