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Last updated on: 1/31/2017 11:08:59 AM PST
Are Mass Deportations a Good Method to Address Illegal Immigration?


PRO (yes)

Jeh C. Johnson, JD, US Secretary of Homeland Security, in a Jan. 4, 2016 statement, "Statement by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson on Southwest Border Security," available at dhs.gov, stated:

"As I have said repeatedly, our borders are not open to illegal migration; if you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values…

This should come as no surprise. I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed…

I know there are many who loudly condemn our enforcement efforts as far too harsh, while there will be others who say these actions don't go far enough. I also recognize the reality of the pain that deportations do in fact cause. But, we must enforce the law consistent with our priorities. At all times, we endeavor to do this consistent with American values, and basic principles of decency, fairness, and humanity."

Jan. 4, 2016 - Jeh Johnson, JD 



Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio host, in an Nov. 11, 2015 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, available at mediamatters.org, stated:

"[T]hey think it's an act of compassion to welcome them [undocumented immigrants] in, and if we disagree with ignoring the law, then we are called racists. And it's not about that at all, it's about sustaining the U.S. economy, the job market the wage base, all these kinds of things…

But I thought one of the most telling lines, when they're discussing all this, and Jeb [Bush] says, well you know, they're -- you're talking about deporting people, you're going to deport people -- 11 million, 12 million people. You realize they're doing hand stands and applauding over at the [Hillary] Clinton campaign. And Trump comes in, you ever heard of Ike? I like Ike? Dwight Eisenhower. Ike? I like Ike? We like Ike? Everybody likes him. You know what Ike did? Ike got rid of a million-and-a-half -- I mean, he deported -- what do you mean it can't be done?...

Trump was entirely correct to point out the history -- what Eisenhower did. And I don't think Trump went far enough, actually. In reality, Harry Truman, another Democrat president, deported illegal aliens -- over 3.4 million, did you know that?...

Harry Truman deported illegal aliens -- 3.4 million of them. You add that to the 2.1 million Ike deported -- or who left on their own at the time. Nearly 6 million illegal aliens were deported or left voluntarily under those two highly-beloved presidents. The country didn't fall apart, and we didn't become a bunch of racists overnight. We didn't lose our compassion, we didn't lose our big hearts."

Nov. 11, 2015 - Rush Limbaugh 



The Bloomberg View Editorial Board, in a Jan. 14, 2016 editorial, "Obama's Deportation Raids Are Ugly—and Right," available at the Bloomberg View website, stated:

"Arresting and deporting women and children in the middle of the night is undoubtedly a nasty business. It's also sometimes necessary…

None of these [other immigration] efforts precludes the stronger enforcement of the law in the U.S. The New Year's weekend raids targeted 121 adults and children that an immigration judge had already ordered removed from the U.S. As harsh as those measures may be, they are consistent with the law and send a strong deterrent signal. Despite the outcry, backing off now would reinforce the misperceptions in Central America that helped create this problem -- and undermine public support for legal immigration in the U.S."

Jan. 14, 2016 - Bloomberg View 



Pat Buchanan, MA, political commentator and former Senior Advisor to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, in a Dec. 10, 2015 article, "An Establishment Unhinged," available at wnd.com, stated:

"They [the American people] don't want open borders or mass immigration. They want people here illegally to be sent back, the borders secured and a moratorium imposed on Muslim immigration until we fix the broken system.

As for the establishment, they are saying pretty much what The Donald is saying. To paraphrase Oliver Cromwell's speech to the Rump Parliament:

You have sat here too long for any good you have done here. In the name of God, go!"

Dec. 10, 2015 - Patrick J. Buchanan, MA 



Ted Cruz, US Senator (R-TX), in a Feb. 23, 2016 article, "Cruz Says Would Deport Illegal Immigrants, Sharpens Immigration Stance," available at reuters.com, stated:

"Listen, we should enforce the law. How do we enforce the law? Yes, we should deport them. We should build a wall. We should triple the Border Patrol. And federal law requires that anyone here illegally that's apprehended should be deported."

Feb. 23, 2016 - Ted Cruz, JD 



Donald Trump, in an Oct. 26, 2015 This Week interview, available at abcnews.go.com, stated:

"Yes and through very good management that [deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants] will happen and the people that are really good and outstanding and have had outstanding records will come back in and they'll come back in legally. They're going to come back in legally so we have a country.

And the bad ones -- and you know there are many bad -- you have -- I have been so right on that subject...

But it's one of the reasons -- is illegal immigration -- they'll come in legally. The ones that are bad -- and we have some real bad ones in this country -- they're going to get out so fast your head will spin.”

Oct. 26, 2015 - Donald J. Trump 



Jim Gilchrist, MBA, CPA, Founder and President of The Minuteman Project, in a May 31, 2007 Global Politician interview titled "Jim Gilchrist of Minuteman Project on Immigration, Terror, Elections," stated:

"I’m pro-deportation or if you want to use a nicer word, pro-repatriation. You cannot have a defeatist attitude towards the problem and have a solution. The repatriation of illegals must begin with a recognition of the problem and a plan. We may be called names, but the names our grandchildren will call us will be worse when they have to live in a destroyed country. There must be a multi-faceted approach, including arresting illegals and also cutting off social welfare programs to them."

May 31, 2007 - Jim Gilchrist, MBA, CPA 



Edwin S. Rubenstein, MA, President of Edwin S. Rubenstein (ESR) Research Economic Consultants, in a Jan. 26, 2006 VDare.com article entitled "No-one’s Suggesting Mass Deportation—But It Would Pay For Itself," wrote:

"The cost of mass deportation according to CAP [Center for American Progress][is] $206 billion over five years ($41.2 billion per year)... [it] is an absurdly large figure... In arriving at this figure, researchers blithely assumed that the historical, abysmally low, deportee apprehension rates would continue under a mass deportation regime.... But even if $206 billion was a reasonable cost estimate, mass deportation would be well worth it. Just consider the economic burden illegal aliens impose on the rest of us... Total fiscal benefits of deportation are thus estimated at $51 billion per year... At this rate, mass deportation would pay for itself in about four years. Plus, of course, we’d get America back."

Jan. 26, 2006 - Edwin S. Rubenstein, MA 



Victor X. Cerda, JD, Acting Director of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in an Apr. 14, 2005 testimony to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Citizenship, stated:

"DRO’s core mission is the apprehension, detention and removal of removable aliens, the management of non-detained aliens as their cases go through immigration proceedings, and the enforcement of orders of removal... to promote public safety and national security by ensuring the departure from the United States of all removable aliens through the fair enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws... By aggressively enforcing our immigration laws, we seek to deter criminal and terrorist organizations who threaten our way of life, and we seek to strengthen the legal immigration process for worthy applicants."

Apr. 14, 2005 - Victor X. Cerda, JD 



CON (no)

The American College of Physicians, in a Sep. 1, 2015 press release, "Citing Potential Adverse Health Impact on Millions of U.S. Residents, Nation’s Largest Physician Specialty Society Urges Physicians to Oppose Mass Deportation," available at acponline.org, stated:

"ACP has had policy since 2011 opposing mass deportation of undocumented residents while also recognizing the need for the United States to have control over who it admits within its borders and to enact and implement laws designed to reduce unlawful entry…

Today, ACP formally reaffirmed its view, expressed in its 2011 paper, that any policy intended to force the millions of persons who now reside unlawfully in the U.S. to return to their countries of origin could result in severe health care consequences for affected persons and their family members, create a public health emergency, result in enormous costs to the health care system of treating such persons (including the significantly increased costs associated with correctional healthcare services during periods of detention), and would likely to lead to racial and ethnic profiling and discrimination."

Sep. 1, 2015 - American College of Physicians (ACP) 



Malcom Harris, Editor at The New Inquiry and author, in a Sep. 8, 2015 article, "Trumps Immigration Plan Is a Recipe for Civil War," available at Aljazeera America’s website, stated:

"Deporting 11 million people would be a population transfer so large it only has a couple historical precedents, and one of them is Adolf Hitler's. To extract that many people from their communities would require a much larger and more determined effort that [sic] Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is capable of at present…

Sending an amped-up ICE on a mass-deportation mission wouldn't just be an assault on undocumented people and their families, it would be an attack on American cities, where more than 90 percent of them live. For large municipalities, rigorously enforcing immigration law is unfeasible but also politically unpopular. So-called 'sanctuary cities' have declared their ongoing intention to drag their feet when it comes to cooperating with the Feds. For example, law enforcement in many cities (including New York) selectively complies with ICE requests to hold people in custody on suspicion of being undocumented. ICE can't do their job without local cooperation and the use of these legally questionable detention orders has decreased by more than 70 percent in the last four years."

Sep. 8, 2015 - Malcolm Harris 



The USA Today Editorial Board in a Mar. 6, 2016 editorial, "The Deportation Deception: Our View," available at usatoday.com, stated:

"Locating millions of immigrants for deportation would take a very dramatic increase in domestic surveillance and enforcement, including door-to-door roundups. Mistakes would inevitably be made, with legal immigrants and citizens swept up in the process. Courts that handle immigration cases would be overwhelmed.

Mass deportations would also harm the economy. Most undocumented workers are in relatively low-skilled jobs, but about a quarter are in white-collar jobs. Of those, about half are in management, finance or professional careers. Removing large numbers would have a very significant impact on the businesses that employ them. Undocumented workers make up about 5.1% of the American workforce at a time when a 4.9% unemployment rate shows that labor markets are growing tight."

USA Today - USA TODAY 



Bernie Sanders, US Senator (I-VT), in a Jan. 7, 2016 letter to President Obama, available at Sanders' Senate website, stated:

"In the summer of 2014, we saw a wave of mothers and children arrive to the U.S. to escape extreme violence in Central America. These mothers fled because of gangs murdering their husbands, targeting their sons for recruitment, and threatening their daughters with sexual violence. More than 80 percent of these migrant women detained were found to have a credible threat to their safety if they were returned home. Yet, nearly 80 percent of these cases are ending with DHS [Department of Homeland Security] ordering these same families deported back to the very dangerous conditions they fled. Disturbingly, it has been reported that as many as 83 Central American immigrants recently denied asylum were murdered within months of their return…

I urge you to immediately end these raids and not deport families back to countries where a death sentence awaits. We cannot continue to employ inhumane tactics involving rounding up and deporting tens of thousands of immigrant families to address a crisis that requires compassion."

Jan. 7, 2016 - Bernie Sanders 



Tom Ridge, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a Sep. 10, 2006 Washington Times opinion article titled "Immigration and Security," wrote:

"[T]he debate we are engaged in presently is a good and necessary one. However, a solution based solely on enforcement is not... The current flow of illegal immigrants and visa overstayers has made it extremely difficult for our border and interior enforcement agencies... Despite a record performance on deportations from ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] the past two years, at current rates it would take nearly 70 years to deport all of the estimated 11 million people living here illegally, even if not a single new illegal alien entered our territory. Attempting to deport everybody is neither feasible nor wise."

Sep. 10, 2006 - Tom Ridge 



Rajeev Goyle, JD, Senior Domestic Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress when quoted, and David Jaeger, PhD, Associate Professor of Economics at The College of William & Mary, in a July 2005 Center for American Progress report entitled "Deporting the Undocumented: A Cost Assessment," wrote:

"The cost assessment presented in this report hopefully illustrates the false allure of adopting a mass deportation policy as a response to the challenges threatening our immigration system... Implementing such a policy would seriously jeopardize our commitment to secure the homeland and pay for our commitments overseas, as well as threaten other vital national priorities... In sum, dealing with the problem of the undocumented is an issue of increasing national urgency. Policymakers must address the problem seriously; not with the costly and unrealistic idea of mass deportation."

July 2005 - Rajeev Goyle, JD 
David Jaeger, PhD 



John McCain, U.S. Senator (R-AZ), in a Mar. 30, 2006 statement on the Senate floor regarding border security and immigration reform legislation, offered the following remarks:

"I have listened to and understand the concerns of those who simply advocate sealing our borders and rounding up and deporting undocumented workers currently in residence here. But that's easier said than done... I have yet to hear a single proponent of this point of view offer one realistic proposal for locating, apprehending, and returning to their countries of origin over 11 million people. How do we do that? ...it would take 200,000 buses extending along a 1700 mile long line to deport 11 million people. That's assuming we had the resources to locate and apprehend all 11 million, or even half that number, which we don't have and, we all know, won't ever have."

Mar. 30, 2006 - John McCain 



Families For Freedom, an immigration advocacy group, in a June 26, 2007 section titled "Deportation 101: From Raids to Deportation," available on the Families for Freedom website stated:

"Every year, nearly 200,000 non-citizens —many with kids who are U.S. citizens— are deported and torn away from their families... resulting in more single parent households and psychological and financial hardship, or forcing their U.S. citizen children into deportation with them. These American children may have to start over in a country with a new language, fewer resources and an uncertain future. America’s immigration laws force American children to lose their parent, or their country. Mandatory deportation is a life sentence of exile. Such a severe 'one size fits all' punishment cannot be the basis of our immigration system."

June 26, 2007 - Families For Freedom