Ever since Donald Trump, the mercurial businessman, media personality, and presidential candidate, proposed his immigration policy, centering on the mass deportation of up to 11 million human beings, reaction among conservatives has been decidedly mixed. Ann Coulter, for whom illegal immigration is the alpha and the omega of public policy, exalted that Trump could perform abortions in the White House, and she would not care. But Charles Krauthammer, writing in the National Review on Thursday, and George Will, in his latest column published Saturday, provided reality checks.
Krauthammer wondered what the practical political effects would be of reenacting the Trail of Tears on a mass scale would be on the Republican Party, poised as it is on the edge of its greatest victory since 1980. His answer is not very hopeful.
“Which, for the Republican party, is also political poison. Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 44 points and he was advocating only self-deportation. Now the party is discussing forced deportation. It is not just Hispanics who will be alienated. Romney lost the Asian vote, too. By 47 points. And many non-minorities will be offended by the idea of rounding up 11 million people, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding members of their communities.”
Will, on the other hand, concentrates on how big government would have to grow to implement Trump’s plan.
“Today’s big government finds running Amtrak too large a challenge, and Trump’s roundup would be about 94 times larger than the wartime internment of 117,000 persons of Japanese descent. But Trump wants America to think big. The big costs, in decades and dollars (hundreds of billions), of Trump’s project could be reduced if, say, the targets were required to sew yellow patches on their clothing to advertise their coming expulsion. There is precedent.”
Both gentlemen also look askance at Trump’s notion of revoking the citizenship of children of illegal aliens who were born in this country. Even Ted Cruz, no slouch where it comes to illegal immigration, realizes that this would require a constitutional amendment, a dubious prospect at best.
The upshot is that there exist practical ways of dealing with illegal immigration that most people would not find abhorrent. These include securing the borders with a wall, cracking down on people who overstay their visas, eliminating the abuse of H1-B work visas where some companies are replacing American workers with cheaper foreign workers, and dealing with the illegals that are already here in some way that is not as obnoxious as mass deportation and not as craven as amnesty. Trump’s proposal, at least according to Krauthammer and Will, would likely lead to a liberal president who would enact mass amnesty, creating millions of Democratic voters that would reduce the Republican Party to permenant minority status.