Immigration Attorney Opinion: The mass deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants will likely result in human rights abuses.
What does the mass deportation of 11 million people actually look like?
Previously, I explained the astronomical economic cost of Donald Trump's plan to mass deport 11 million undocumented immigrants if he is elected President (approximately $100-$300 billion).
While this fact alone provides strong support against the plan, the reality is, this proposal is likely to create an inviting environment for repeated human rights abuses. How? To understand the real danger behind this plan, it is helpful to picture what steps the government must take in order to carry out this feat.
How will Immigration and Customs & Enforcement (ICE) enforce this? ICE will likely first target the approximate 925,000 undocumented immigrants who have final orders of removal/ deportation but have failed to depart the United States. In accordance with standard ICE operating procedures, focus will likely shift to criminal illegal aliens already in removal/ deportation proceedings. ICE will face the least number of legal hurdles in removing these two groups of illegal aliens, and thus should be effectuated relatively quick compared to the remaining undocumented immigrants.
The question is, how will Trump go about deporting individuals who do not have final removal/ deportation orders? Will their be a flat denial of due process in violation of the U.S. Constitution and with complete disregard to Supreme Court precedent?
While Trump has failed to explain how the mass deportation would actually take place, he intentionally leads a reasonable listener to believe that he will be rounding people up to deport them, all at once or as many as possible at a time. Either Donald Trump really does not understand how the removal/ deportation process works, or he does not care. The fact is, the U.S. cannot just put people on boats and planes and waive goodbye. We rely on the cooperation of other countries to take back their citizens and nationals. However, according to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (citing DHS), currently there are 23 countries who are "uncooperative" in this endeavor and cooperation with 62 other countries are "strained." This has been one of the main reasons why there are close to 1 million illegal aliens still in this country with final orders of removal.
It is thus reasonable to conclude that the mass deportation of 11 million people will be a time-consuming and tedious process. So what will the U.S. government do with all 11 million people while they scramble to figure out each person's country of origin and secure a travel document there?
I am concerned that many of these people will be placed in ICE detention centers which will spur the opening of numerous large detention centers across the United States. In addition, most likely these immigration detention centers will be privately-run facilities, as the government does not have the budget to otherwise implement such a plan (Congress controls the budget, not the President), and this is where my biggest concern lies.
I have always been against for-profit prisons. These prisons make money like any other for-profit entity, by always looking to cut costs and maintain a steady stream of clientele (i.e., returning customers). In this situation, that means decreasing living conditions to arguably minimal legal standards for prisons, a lack of transparency and public accountability, and an interest in keeping individuals locked up.
The conditions in many of these for-profit prisons are so deplorable in fact, that about 2 months ago the U.S. Justice Department announced that it was terminating contracts with private prisons due to fact that the prisoner conditions were so sub-standard that riots were breaking out in response to this and to the high number of assaults and suspicious deaths that were taking place.
Despite the numerous accounts of the atrocities that have taken place in these for-profit prisons, ICE just announced that it has entered into a contract with one of the worst facilities on this list to house undocumented immigrants and is in the process of making agreements with at least 2 more of these facilities.
We cannot be naive here. For-profit prisons operate to make money and that will not change simply because the detainees are illegal immigrants as oppose to criminal offenders. The same deplorable healthcare and living conditions are certain to continue despite the change in detainee population, inviting the likelihood of severe human rights violations of millions of individuals being held not as criminals, but as immigration violaters.