Orville Taylor | Deporting ‘undesirables’ but increasing threat
A strong America is indispensable to global peace and a weak America. I was never sure about what now President Donald Trump meant about making America great again. However, the issue of his country's national security is not a business deal that, if it fails, can be fixed via a declaration of bankruptcy. If Trump fumbles this catch, there is no replay in the World Series; it's the endgame.
For all the criticisms surrounding him leading up to the election in November, he is now the president of the free world and is accountable not only to the Americans who voted him in, but the entire world, and in particular, the Americas. True, I am worried about his dealings with Russian democratic President Vladimir Putin and the WikiLeaks scandal, which we are not sure did or did not take place.
This is not about the alleged mendacity of the Prez and the alternative truths. No! This has to do with his deliberate and publicly declared strategies, which apparently no sociologist in his advisory team is quietly taking him into a room and critiquing. Those who truly care for him need to stare him down and steer him straight. Be not mistaken: We cannot afford for Trump to fail as president, because if he does, he takes the whole region with him.
Somehow he is going to win the war on terror and make America safe again. First step: He is going to build a wall along the Mexican border and keep the illegal immigrants out. Moreover, the criminals who apparently comprise the majority of those crossing the borders will have no passage into the US.
MASS ROUND-UPS NEXT
Next, he will attempt to do mass round-ups, some of which are already taking place, and deport all undocumented and undesirables to their places of origin.
These first two moves will put such a hernia on the budget that it could lead to a recession. Despite the original cocksureness that the wall would be erected with Mexican money, it now appears that it is my Americans, who voted but didn't vote for him, who will finance this mega project, which is estimated to cost US$25 billion.
The second initiative is just as prohibitive and could end up costing the American people US$500 billion. Now, as an elected and rightful ruler, he is free to do as he pleases in his country. And Americans can pretend all they want about him representing something that America is not. Let me give them a reality cheque. The majority of electors voted him in. So, he did and does capture many sentiments, including the xenophobia that liberals and other modern 'well-thinking'Americans pretend that they do not have. Some 53 per cent of Americans polled support the mass deportations.
My concern, however, is that none of these initiatives will make America economically stronger or safer. Illegal Mexican labour is estimated to save American employers billions in labour costs. However, mass deportation will be impossible because there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the USA. And unless there is going to be a house-to-house inquisition such as the Catholic Church did in the 15th Century or the Nazis did in the 1930s and '40s in Germany, the great majority of them will remain secreted.
MONEY TO WAIST
The searches will be as successful as the campaign to remove the cane toads from Australia and the mongoose from Jamaica. Like the fat kid whose idea of losing weight involves eating litres of low-fat ice cream, it will be money going to waist.
Moreover, one of the major issues in deportation policies from the US and Britain has been that the standard of justice and civil/human rights of the deportees seems to be lower than for citizens of the countries. There is often cry that due process is often not exhausted and the approach is draconian. Indeed, if the recent presidential initiative to prevent green card holders from returning to their place of residence and where their families live is any indication, the round-ups will begin.
Yet, the problem of injustice and justice is a polemic for the lawyers, because the practice of law is about enforcing or manoeuvring around existing legislation or legal precedents - not about how just they are. Thus, I leave it to Matondo Mukulu and others to rally around whatever legal recourse and remedies are available to the victims, including the 50 who were recently and the other 100 or so who are being rounded up from the UK like errant goats and sheep.
The bigger issue is the larger sociological impact. Given that a significant number of the deportees have families and, in particular, offspring born in the USA and UK, all that will be done is a denuding of the families and oftentimes the removal of the stabilising force.
In an earlier column, I outlined the dangers of this and the likelihood that both the US and UK could very well be creating a set of disaffected youth who fit the exact profile of the recruits of ISIS. In any event, it must not be ignored that the majority of terrorist attacks and murders since 9/11 in the US have been by Americans.
Nevertheless, there is a much, much bigger danger. Somehow, in taking steps to reduce the terrorist threat presented by Mexico, the country that sent more than 200 of its military troops to assist in the initially poorly handled Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, the Trump administration is cutting the budget of the coastguard by US$1.3 billion to finance the Mexican wall.
This branch of the military polices the most porous borders of the US, the sea coasts. Raking in 6,346 undocumented migrants, 201 metric tons of cocaine, and 52,613 pounds of marijuana in 2016, triple times seizures by the border patrol and internal sources, it is the coastguard that will have to face the increased threats of persons who know the ins and outs of the country but now hate it because they have been forcibly removed from the place that they know as home.
This is not like the expatriation of Africans to Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1700s and 1800s. It is like sweeping out dust from one's house but leaving it at the open gate. It is a breezy hemisphere, and there is an ill wind that will blow no good.
- Dr Orville Taylor is senior lecturer in sociology at the UWI, a radio talk-show host, and author of 'Broken Promises, Hearts and Pockets'. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.