Real estate mogul Donald Trump set the tone for his campaign to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States during his presidential announcement speech on June 16, 2015. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump told a stunned nation last June, to the cheers of many on the right-wing fringes. Trump has promised to deport 11 million “undocumented” immigrants and during Tuesday night’s Republican debate in Milwaukee, Trump’s rivals took issue with this plan. But Trump insisted Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that under a Trump administration “You’re going to have a ‘deportation force,’ and you’re going to do it humanely.”
Trump continued, “They’re going back where they came. If they came from a certain country, they’re going to be brought back to that country. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Now they can come back but they have to come back legally.” Trump ignored the question of the cost of the program, claiming it would not “cost much.” The American Action Forum (AAF) estimates the cost over the next 20 years is $400-600 billion. However, unless a “comprehensive immigration plan” is implemented, such a program would have “unintended consequences,” such as “finishing the border fence, drastically increasing the number of ICE and Border Patrol officers, building additional detention facilities, and addressing the years-long immigration court backlog.”
During the GOP debate, Trump was called to task by Ohio Governor John Kasich, “Come on, people, you know we can’t pick up 11 million people and ship them back across a border,” Kasich said of Trump’s plan to deport millions of people in the U.S. “Think about the families. Think about the children.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican candidate trying to remain relevant, warned other Republican presidential candidates during Tuesday night’s debate that “they’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign now when they hear” the GOP talk about immigration reform. In fact, the Clinton campaign was quick to respond over Twitter, seconds after the comment. “We actually are doing high-fives right now,” tweeted Brian Fallon, Clinton’s press secretary.
Hillary Clinton posted posted on Twitter, “The idea of tracking down and deporting 11 million people is absurd, inhumane, and un-American. No, Trump.”
To justify his deportation plan, Trump touted the controversial 1950s “Operation Wetback” program as a method of deporting approximately 11 million “undocumented” immigrants. In 1954, under the then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s program, immigrants inside the U.S. were rounded up and deported to remote places, resulting in deaths and criticism that it led to human rights abuse. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that “Operation Wetback was a disgraceful episode that involved inhumane treatment of Mexican migrants, an unknown number of whom died or were sickened by being forcibly relocated and in many cases deposited in sweltering, remote locations with little food or water.”