Deportation: cruel, unjust and inhuman | Anjum Niaz

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President Trump has finally decided to deport around 11 million undocumented people to Mexico. Not all are Mexicans, yet his government will round up every illegal in America and toss them across the wall dividing US and Mexico. Trump’s move is seen as inhuman and cruel. But the man is simply fulfilling a campaign promise that he made to his 60 million supporters who want illegal people living off America’s largesse to be sent back to Mexico.

Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary, General retired John Kelly, issued an incredible pair of memos that detail the battle plan for the “deportation force.” The deportation machinery is unlike the sort America has ever witnessed. It is extreme and frightening. It will cost the taxpayer millions of dollars to hire immigration officers overnight who will be given special powers to catch and deport the undocumented people who have lived in America for decades and done work that no white American is willing to do. The gardeners, housekeepers, cooks, nannies, farm hands, labourers and blue-collar workers are mostly Hispanics. They toil to put food on the table for their families. Now, they will be rounded up and sent back to Mexico. Their children who are known as “dreamers” were brought to America when very young. They will be allowed to stay back in the US. Dividing the families is the most inhuman thing a government can ever do. And yet the Trump government is bent upon doing it!

The Obama administration recognised that millions of unauthorised immigrants, especially those with citizen children and strong ties to their communities and this country, deserved a chance to stay and become legal. It only deported the criminals who had committed serious crimes in the US and were thus a national-security threat. But Donald Trump has refused to give a legal pathway to those who crossed over illegally. Instead, he has made every deportable person a deportation priority. “He wants everybody, starting with those who have been convicted of any crime, no matter how petty or old,” writes the New York Times. “Proportionality, discretion, the idea that some convictions are unjust, the principles behind criminal-justice reform — these concepts do not apply.”

Hillary Clinton had promised the 11 million illegals to allow them to stay by finding a way for becoming US citizens without having to leave the US. She would have done it had she been elected president instead of Trump. Other than Trump’s supporters, almost every American, who believes that the country was made great by opening its borders to talented, hard-working immigrants from all corners of the world, is simply shocked by Trump’s new move.

Many college campuses have reacted to Donald Trump’s hash orders of deportation with anger. Professors and students wonder how they can stop this drastic injustice and what role can they play. The former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, says that the best way to defeat elitism in colleges and universities is to make leading colleges more open to the working class. He wants to make them fairer places that look more like America. The billionaire’s Bloomberg Foundation is starting an ambitious plan known as the ‘American Talent Initiative,’ whereby the foundation is opening its doors to exceptionally bright students who cannot afford to pay for college. Bloomberg is paying for their education. Most of them happen to be immigrants. “America needs to have as big a pool of talented, hard-working, well-educated people as it can possibly get,” said Bloomberg in an interview. As mayor of NY city, he made the police force more racially diverse: “The country needs to have people in government and business that understand all of the different constituencies.”

There are so many human interest stories of how illegals arrived in America and worked hard to educate their children for a better life. Here is one such success story that The New York Times carried recently. Mexican-born Jeffrey Leal initially assumed that colleges outside of his home state, Arizona, would be too expensive. But after receiving a flier in the mail, he attended a workshop where he learned how much financial aid Stanford University offered. Thanks to a Bloomberg-financed programme, he was admitted to the prestigious Stanford University in California.

Today, Valdespino, whose parents didn’t graduate high school, is a Stanford freshman, finishing first-semester exams and living in the same dorm as the children of a cabinet secretary, a tech company co-founder and other millionaires. “If there could be more lower-income students here, it would be great,” he says, “because we’ve shown we can do just as well as the other students.” His parents were very adamant, Jeffrey told the Times. “They told us that they wanted us to focus on our education, so we would be able to take more demanding classes.” An education, they said, would mean “you don’t have to come home and be exhausted.” Jeffrey is studying engineering and management science and hopes to land a good job.

But now he lives in fear. Any day, any time, while he’s away at college, Trump’s Deportation Force can come knocking at his parents’ home and haul them away to a detention centre to be eventually deported to Mexico, a country they left almost 40 years ago. Imagine the feelings of this young talented man who only knows America to be his home, a country that welcomes immigrants, is fair and non-discriminatory.

But today America is different. Under Trump, it looks and behaves like an alien country that wants to close its borders to immigrants. It may soon start to show shades of Nazi Germany.

The writer is a journalist with over 30 years of experience