Trump’s Immigration Plan Is Hardcore Porn For Nativists

Trump’s Immigration Plan Is Hardcore Porn For Nativists

The billionaire's immigration positions are as ludicrous as they are destructive.
David Harsanyi
By

Donald Trump is porn for nativists. Now, a person can derive much political self-gratification from wishful thinking, but remember porn isn’t real. So enjoy daydreaming about mass deportations and visualizing the repeal of birthright citizenship, but don’t let yourself get desensitized to reality.

In the real world, Trumpism is destroying any slim hope the GOP could have a rational immigration debate or cobble together a consensus on policy. Before his fans began genuinely considering a Trump presidency, you’ll recall that the most popular justification for supporting the vanity run was the idea that he’d provoke legitimate candidates to talk about illegal immigration. Because, as you all know, no one has ever tackled this issue before ever, or so goes the myth spun by the same people who earnestly tell you that Jeb Bush is a Trotskyite but Donald Trump is the second-coming of Ronald Reagan.

Well, anyway, we’re talking about immigration now. In the most unhelpful way imaginable.

Trump’s immigration plan doesn’t feature deportation, officially. It also doesn’t matter. Trump’s fans—not all, but enough—aren’t turned on by softcore white papers authored by Jeff Sessions, they want the hard stuff (and not only should you trouble believing he Trump has any intention of implementing his white paper, you should have trouble believing he has ever read the thing,). His fans are energized by protectionist rhetoric and the fallacy of zero-sum economics. They’re fired up because he’s the first major candidate to call illegal immigrants rapists and murders. They’re thrilled because he’s going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. And they’re super excited because he supports the deportation of 13 million illegal immigrants.

“We’re going to keep the families together, but they have to go,” he said on Meet the Press.

Where will they go? “They have to go.”

How will we do it? “We will work with them. They have to go. Chuck, we either have a country, or we don’t have a country.”

Hardcore Border Porn

Trumpism is collective expression of base impulse. And like porn, that sort of thing is equally absurd and destructive.

The fact is that the issue of mass deportation is the clearest dividing line between those who are serious about immigration policy and those who are not. Not only is mass deportation unfeasible fiscally, logistically, and politically, but any attempt to implement such policy would have huge societal repercussions—even if it is the law.

Depending on how the government decides to implement deportation, Washington would have to spend somewhere between $100 billion and $300 billion arresting and deporting these people, a process the American Action Forum estimates would take roughly 20 years. It would need to hire 10,000 federal employees to bring in these people. If we assume that 20 percent of undocumented immigrants would pick up and leave the United States voluntarily when the raids began, as AAF does, that means we would have to forcibly remove around 9 million illegal immigrants—and many of their children, who were born here and are considered to be citizens.

What economic damage would this kind of project inflict on the United States? What kind of moral damage? Trump cultists do not need to weigh the costs of these piddling questions, because all the troubles in the world can be pinned on the illegal—with an assist from their nefarious partners in crime, the RINO (and from what I can tell, there remains only one non-RINO left in the entire country).

Trump has, to be fair, offered us some specifics in his immigration plan. He will tax money illegal immigrants try to send back home, which I imagine would necessitate a massive invasion of privacy and create more destitution on the other side of the border. Trump plans to increase fees on a visa program for workers and others who visit the United States legally, because nothing says “follow the law” like punishing those who do. He plans on increasing fees on the border crossings and, naturally, to institute more tariffs on a nation he imagines is “beating us.”

Now, our first modern mercantilist president could only achieve all this through a number of executive actions. Many of the same people who lament Obama’s penchant for executive abuse and talk about collapse of the Republic would cheer Trump on, because when they say “conservative issue,” they mean illegal immigration.

Trump plans to increase fees on a visa program for workers and others who visit the United States legally, because nothing says “follow the law” like punishing those who do.

Less offensive, perhaps, but no less realistic is Trump’s support for the repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment’s citizenship clause. There are two ways to achieve this: Trump will have to name a whole bunch of SCOTUS judges when he becomes president, and then push a law through both houses of Congress that can withstand the inevitable legal challenge. Or he can push for repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment, which would need the votes of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and support from three-fourths of state legislatures. None of this is ever going to happen.

Many Americans have genuine concerns—I count myself among them—about the preservation of law and order, about the cultural consequences of immigration, about assimilation, and about sovereignty. But today, there is a purity test that demands a voter sign up for the Trump plan or admit he’s an enemy of the state. I imagine when it’s all said and done, most Americans will choose the latter. But the fractures within the Republican Party have been pried apart. Any candidate unwilling to try and keep up with Trump is transformed into a limp-wristed Commie whose primary chances die on the vine. Those who praise Trump’s agenda to placate the base would be annihilated in a general election, forced to defend an absurd menu of statist intrusions and unrealistic policies.

Actually, “the base” is the wrong phrase here. The base is a principled group of philosophically driven party purists. Trumpism is nothing like the Tea Party movement, for instance.  The latter, sometimes naïve, was driven by ideals grounded in traditional American thinking. Trumpism is collective expression of base impulse. And like porn, that sort of thing is equally absurd and destructive.

Photo Gage Skidmore
David Harsanyi is a Senior Editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.

Copyright © 2016 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.

comments powered by Disqus