How To Deport
Take the money and it works itself out
Deportation squads! In the dead of night, the jackbooted blackclad thugs knocking down the door of the taco truck where poor Jean-Pierre (bet you didn’t expect him to be Haitian, bigot, it’s real goat, and it’s delicious) just seeks a b e t t e r l i f e, and thrust him into a cattle car, airlifted from the paradisaical environs of the local Haititown to the benighted (through no fault of their own) hellhole of Haiti. “Dios mio!” he shouts (he’s trilingual, much better than the average American, which he nonetheless totally is), “mi niños!”. Their tear-streaked faces saturate CNN for the next news cycle.
This pastiche took six men and a dozen hours. This is not efficient. It’s certainly insufficient to deport “all eleven million” - a number obsolete when it was posited. It’s not even a possible route to the more realistic thirty million or so. The last time didn’t go so well, although the first rule of sucking chest wounds is to stop the stabbing. So what do?
There is a meta-game here, where the winning play is to shatter the trust that exists between a prospective migrant and their prospective patrons in the host country. As much as they promise him it’s okay, you have asylum and civil rights and a path to citizenship and whatnot, he should recall what happened to the last guy to trust the United States Federal Government.
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In other words, yes, the cruelty is the point - it’s called deterrence. For instance, blue states like targeting legal gun owners, particularly those who followed whatever registration scheme exists, for actual or perceived paperwork failures, or just based on legislative whim - it’s far easier than indicting De’clarance for his switch, because their modal law-abiding target has a nicely documented fixed address and something to lose. The effect of this is to convince the population that under no circumstances do you fill out whatever “amnesty” paperwork is being pushed this legislative cycle - the “pathway to legality” exists only as a conceit to claim it’s totally not a ban or a confiscation, your honor (that only comes later).
Similarly, the first targets for repression should not be cartel affiliates who hopped the border for the fifth time, drunk drivers, sexual abusers etc, because rounding them up simply absorbs too many resources (although if you’ve already got them in custody, sure, get them in the pipeline). The primary targets should be everyone who played by the rules and trusted that their outright grant of asylum or their 2030 court date was as good as a passport, starting with those well established in their communities and not causing any problems - as long as they’re easy to find. Only by making those people incredibly uncomfortable do you disincentivize the next wave, by making it clear that they cannot simply keep their head down, relying on juicier targets in front of them to absorb attention. The only existence possible should be a fully underground, criminal, scrounging life - in other words, living in fear.
There’s even a procedure for doing this, and to the extent it goes through “immigration courts”, those are themselves staffed with DOJ employees (I hope you’ve got your resume freshened up) rather than “judges”. There is a remarkable paper ability to just jerk people around in the immigration system that in its strongest form has very little Article III judicial oversight, especially when someone is already in custody. Which brings us to the logistical issue - how do you move that many people?
There is a well-founded concern over the logistical ability of the United States to physically remove the sheer number of bodies involved. Quantity to be moved divided by available butts on seats for your modal 737, and so on, and you’re left with an incredible amount of freight to be transported.
What this misses is that if you are relying on your actual goon squads snatching people and strapping them to the seats of available Dakar-destined transport, you have already lost the battle. Mitt Romney was right - self-deportation is the answer. “Fleeing in terror” is the way this works in the conflicts that take place where these people are from - you do not want to wait for the guys with machetes to arrive at your village, so you start walking. This is hazardous, because you lose access to most of the logistical networks delivering calories to you, the source of income that allows you to afford them, and so on. The jungle takes care of the rest.
In enlightened United States, we do not do such things, and certainly do not want the Bad Optics Ditch to make a reappearance. This isn’t Belarus, there are rules. But nonetheless you do need to make illegal existence in the United States a capricious, Kafkaesque experience. The feds already routinely shake down randos for their cash literally as a favor for an ex colleague - civil asset forfeiture is a source of near-unchecked executive authority that can be applied to remittance flows from migrants themselves, their bank accounts, the bank accounts of the NGOs facilitating their illegal entry to the United States, and even their pocket money when they are apprehended. There are now hundreds of hours of footage of various YouTubers interviewing migrants on both sides of the border, and they uniformly suggest one of the most frustrating parts of the journey is dealing with corrupt Mexican police and cartel affiliates robbing and extorting them. Well, welcome to America.
In combination with the same draconian procedures applied to employers or patrons of said migrants, what you are doing is garrotting their ability to take advantage of US wages. These people are “poor” compared to the average US worker, but were able to save or borrow in the $10K range in order to make the journey, which in many cases puts them firmly in the middle percentiles of their home country’s labor market. That is their alternative, and the key is to make the devil they know a more attractive option than the US’s whimsical treatment of their fate.
Understandably, with their cash gone, they may have trouble footing the bill to leave, let alone to sustain themselves. Thus - the camps. The US does not have enough detention space or officials to house the hundreds of thousands of people at any given time that lead to removing tens of millions in a reasonable timeframe. But you do not need to “detain” them. Quoting Hotel California is a bit on the nose at this point, but hopefully it gets the point across - a last-resort three squares and a cot, with no ability to support themselves on the outside, and any attempt to do so punishable by the same mechanisms that encouraged them to check in, results in a population that self-concentrates for future management - voluntary repatriation at everyone’s leisure, via normal commercial channels. Importantly, this occurs under the watchful eye of plentiful cat ladies with experience in doling out snacks, rather than expensive and overworked custodial ICE officers.
The razor wire is to protect them from the local racists.