Donald Trump on illegals and the Wall

The New York Times analyzes today the presidential candidate’s proposals about undocumented residents and the border with Mexico.

Deport them

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2014 there were 11.3 unauthorized persons in the country; 49% of them are Mexicans, whose numbers dropped from 6.9 million in 2007 to 5.6 million in 2014; they make up 5.1% of the workforce; and 7% of K-12 students had at least one unauthorized parent. What work these workers do is estimated here.

Trump says that his deportation measures will resemble Operation Wetback, the most recent mass-scale deportation program in the country, begun in 1954, and will be completed in two years. Currently the country deports about 400,000 persons a year.

“ ‘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.”

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.

“ ‘Unless you suspend the Constitution and instruct the police to behave as if we live in North Korea,’ ” Mr. Chertoff said, “’it ain’t happening.’”

Build a Wall

“Mr. Trump has shared few details. He has said that the wall would be built from precast concrete and steel and that it could be 50 feet tall, if not higher. After calling for it to extend across the entire 2,000-mile southern border, he more recently said half that length could be sufficient because of natural barriers. He has pegged the cost at $4 billion to $12 billion, most recently settling on around $10 billion.” The Times article goes into the cost, logistics and eminent domain aspects of the proposal.

It also discusses water rights and recent history of Mexican-American relations. “The Colorado River sends water south; the Rio Grande, a natural boundary for hundreds of miles, delivers precious water from Mexico, through dozens of canals, to much of South Texas. Water experts in the Southwest question how Mr. Trump’s border wall could accommodate those crucial flows and still provide the barrier he wants.”

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