Ted Rall: Here’s Why Donald Trump’s Not Bluffing on Mass Deportations

Written by Ted Rall

Think Donald Trump’s bluffing about mass deportations? Even if you’re legal, you need to start thinking about a hiding place, says Ted Rall. Here’s what to expect in the dark days ahead … [commentary]

aNewDomainted-rall-bernie-sanders — During the run-up to America’s war against Iraq, I told audiences that Bush would certainly win reelection. Some people broke down in tears.

That’s my job: telling people things they prefer not to hear, especially about the future. Being Cassandra isn’t much fun. Because we live in a nation in decline and yielding to incipient fascism, the more I’m right — i.e., most of the time — the more I annoy my readers.

So I’m sorry to tell you this. But please believe me when I say this gives me no pleasure: Donald Trump isn’t bluffing when he threatens to deport the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

Are you undocumented? Prepare to go underground.

Are your papers in good standing? Are you a good person? Do you really, really think you have no enemies?

Prepare a hiding place in your home.

If Trump is elected, dark days are ahead.

Do not take comfort in the fact that Trump flip-flops on all sorts of issues. Don’t let the flip-flopping lull you into thinking that the deportation talk is just posturing. It isn’t. Contrary to Trump’s initial, typically strident position on abortion, the master demagogue now says women needn’t fear imprisonment if they terminate their pregnancy, and he could change his mind again, too. Even his much-ballyhooed Great Wall of Trump along the Mexican border may wind up as half a wall. He goes back and forth like this a lot.

But his plan to deport undocumented immigrants is different.

And there is no way he’ll back away from it.

Why are deportations different? Radical nativism, as defined by this promise to deport illegal immigrants, every single one of them, defined his campaign from the start. It’s why he’s here.

It’s why he won the nomination, period.

Expecting Trump to reneg on deportations would be like Bernie Sanders asking Goldman Sachs for donations or Hillary Clinton changing her gender — it would betray the whole raison d’être of his campaign. On deportations, Trump can’t back down without losing most of his support.

Now, the optics of the biggest forced population movement since those carried out by Hitler and Stalin would be awful. Police kicking down doors. Women and children dragged off in the middle of the night. Neighbors, friends, colleagues, lovers, spouses — disappeared. This is what we have in store, for certain, if Trump comes to power.

And then there’s this: Countries of origin will for sure be reluctant to absorb millions of new arrivals, all unemployed, many of them who came to the U.S. as children and thus have no memory of their “home” countries and may even be sketchy with the “home” language.

That is why the Trump Administration will have to build concentration camps to house them.

Because the idea is so outlandish, so fundamentally un-American, it’s too much to contemplate seriously, even for journalists.

But they’re in denial. Most Americans are. Because, if Trump wins — and it’s entirely possible he will — he will carry out his plan.

If you’re thinking that congress or the courts will prove barriers to mass deportations and even concentration camps, think again.

Legally, there’s nothing to it. Trump doesn’t need an act of Congress to deport 11 million Americans.

He doesn’t even have to sign an executive order.

All he’ll have to do to set this outrage in motion is pick up the phone and tell the head of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to do his or her job: Enforce the law.

Yes, it’s true that concentration camps will cost money. So will more agents. No problem. President Trump will shift his budget priorities in favor of ICE. He’s already said he would triple ICE’s enforcement division from 5,000 to 15,000 officers.

The FBI will have to pitch in.

Backlogs in the nation’s 57 existing immigration courts run as long as two years. The system will just be expanded.

Speaking of which, I look to Trump’s authoritarian impulse to turn initially to the federal budget. I imagine Trump making a pitch that goes like this: “I won because the American people wanted my business acumen in charge of government. Congress has totally messed up the budget process with their budget stand-offs. Let me take care of the budget, and I promise you an end to this crap. Take your kids to a national park and I guarantee it won’t be closed due to some government shutdown, believe me.”

Compliant media + perceived mandate + popular exhaustion equals just one thing: Trump getting his way.

Here’s a sad but true fact to consider: Subtracting 11 million people from the population, and thus two to four million from the workforce, will put money into the pockets of everybody else. Fewer workers means labor has more clout. Wages will go up.

Meanwhile, deportations will empty housing stock. Rents will decline.

In the short term, anyway, Trumpism could stimulate the economy. This would be popular. It will enable a lot of people to look the other way.

What’s frightening is that establishmentarians say they can’t even imagine that Trump would actually go through with mass deportations, much less how he would carry them out. They are in a state of disbelief and denial.

“I can’t even begin to picture how we would deport 11 million people in a few years when 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,” says Michael Chertoff, head of the Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush.

You don’t need imagination to game this out. dude.

You just need history.

Right-wingers will call the cops to report their undocumented neighbors. Just as they did in Nazi-occupied Europe, anyone with a grudge against someone without a valid I-9 form — resentful ex-boyfriends, angry ex-wives, former employers, fellow employees — will drop a dime to Trump’s jackbooted thugs.

Checkpoints will spring up on roads, at bus stops, in train stations. Not that any of this is really necessary, mind you. Thanks to mass surveillance by the NSA, the feds already know where illegals live.

That’s why it won’t be hard to find judges to issue warrants based on those reports.

For Trump, deportations are a political necessity he has based everything around. And it so happens he can easily execute them.

Critics say they won’t occur because they would run against our societal values. “Unless you suspend the Constitution and instruct the police to behave as if we live in North Korea,” Chertoff says, “it ain’t happening.

Chertoff ought to know better. This is a guy who served under a radical right-wing president who convinced us to go along with perpetual war, concentration camps, legalized torture, invading foreign countries for fun, killer drone planes and a new cabinet-level bureaucracy whose mission — and very name, Homeland Security — evokes Nazi Germany.

It was true then and it is perhaps truer now: It doesn’t take much to convince Americans to accept the unacceptable.

I’m sorry to have to tell you this again, but get ready to go into hiding. Dark days are ahead.

For aNewDomain and the new SkewedNews, I’m Ted Rall. 

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