Call It Escapism

Has anyone thought through the logistics of deporting 12 million illegal immigrants?

Discomfort Zone

by Steve Dupree

Anybody out there remember the lead-up to hurricane Katrina? Remember the stories of people sitting in their cars on the highways for 12-plus hours to go 40 or 50 miles? Huge traffic jams, broken down vehicles, insufficient refueling facilities, incompetent and distracted drivers, and other factors combined to create the situation of essentially turning the interstates and other roads into steamy parking lots.

A few days later, we got to see a rerun of that situation but with Houston, Tex., and hurricane Rita cast as the lead characters. New Orleans had a population of about 485,000 and an area population of about 1.4 million. Houston has a city population of about 2.15 million, and a metro population closer to 6 million, but it also has many more and much larger highways and roads, as well as an easier-to-navigate topography. In each place, it was citizens who wanted to be moving, who wanted to get away. In each place, it was not the total population, but it was a significant percentage.

Recently, I heard on NPR some guesstimates of how long a pullout of the less than 300,000 American troops in Iraq would take. The estimates rang in at up to nearly a year to remove all of the troops and their equipment safely.

I frequently read of or hear people calling for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in this nation to be deported. They talk about the jobs those immigrants have stolen. They talk about the depression of wage levels caused by a willingness to work for less than what citizens will take. They speak of the crime issues, the burden on school systems, the burden on the medical systems and on and on and on. What they do not speak of, at least in the range of my hearing, is the burdensome logistics of removing 12 million people.

Removing 12 million people, many of whom, perhaps most of whom, have no desire to leave, would be a challenge. It may well be an insurmountable challenge. In any case, the expense of such an endeavor would quite likely be completely unpalatable to all tax-phobic Republicans, and the social expense would most assuredly put liberals off their feed as well. We would probably have to create and fund a completely new bureaucracy to keep up with the logistics of the deportation alone. Everyone would have to be fingerprinted, photographed, and possibly DNA tested so as to positively identify them.

Without doing that, and possibly even with doing it, we would still need to pay disgusting homage to the Nazis and somehow permanently identify illegals as illegals. Would we brand them with some sort of mark or tattoo? Then, of course, there is the issue of illegals who have children who are citizens of our nation, as those who are born here have citizenship regardless of the citizenship status of their parents. As we went about the business of coldly tearing apart loving families, someone would have to pay to take care of those young citizens who cannot be legally deported and whose parents cannot stay. Have you looked at daycare costs lately?

If all those issues were successfully dealt with, you'd then have the actual logistical nightmare of trying to move/remove 12 million people, some of whom may be wishing for, or actively plotting, your failure. Think back to Houston and New Orleans. Those were folks who wanted to go and who were actively trying to handle it themselves. For many, it just plain did not work. Imagine if just 1,000 of the maybe 3 million total trying to evacuate decided to sabotage the effort. Imagine a thousand roads willfully blocked, vehicles rendered immobile. There would have been no way to handle the number of 911 distress calls. Many would've died of the heat or the stress of the situation or of existing conditions that could not be treated in such a situation. Things would have been an order of magnitude worse than they were with reference to the deaths and loss of property that occurred during those hurricane events. But without genius-level planning and Divine perfection in execution, that sort of situation is the most likely outcome of any effort to remove 12 million people.

Our nation simply does not have the infrastructure or the will to do what would have to be done to actually get rid of that many people. We. Can. Not. Do. It. If you are going to have a serious discussion on the issue, some level of amnesty will have to be a part of it. You may call it by other names or attach conditions in a spoonful-of-sugar sort of way, but somewhere, somehow, someway, amnesty will be a part of it. We couldn't handle the physical logistics or the mental/emotional costs of mass deportation, and we would probably fight tooth and nail against the actual monetary costs. Any plan that doesn't acknowledge that is just an empty fantasy.


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