Trump favors constructing a police state

LEE A. DANIELS | 8/31/2015, 7:19 a.m.
At bottom, the plan of Donald Trump, the GOP’s political playboy, to “solve” America’s crisis of undocumented Latino immigration is ...
Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His most recent book is Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America. He collaborated with Rachel Robinson on her 1998 book, Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait. NNPA

(NNPA) – At bottom, the plan of Donald Trump, the GOP’s political playboy, to “solve” America’s crisis of undocumented Latino immigration is really quite simple: Turn the U.S. into a police state.

Of course, Trump and his supporters, and the rest of the GOP presidency-seekers who are following, sheep-like, in his wake on the issue don’t put it that plainly. In part, that’s because none of them are serious about implementing a deport-them-all scheme.

Even numerous conservative analysts and pundits have said that any such effort would necessarily have to last for decades and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Trump, buoyed by his mob of rabid supporters, is hustling the GOP, and most of the rest of the GOP candidates are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

This is so even as the Aug. 12 Gallup survey shows 65 percent of Americans support a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they follow certain “path to citizenship” rules. That includes 50 percent of Republicans. Only 19 percent of Americans favor a mass deportation plan.

Nonetheless, it’s vitally important to consider what a mass-deportation scheme would require – and do to the concept of democracy in America. After all, America does have a long history of using racist reasoning and anti-democratic tactics to subjugate and exclude people of color from citizenship.

There was Negro slavery, of course, and the sly trick of the original Constitution’s not-quite-concealed endorsement of it. And, later, the congressionally enacted measures excluding Asians, both immigrants and U.S.-born alike, from citizenship. In the 1850s, there was the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott ruling that declared free as well as enslaved Blacks were not citizens.

Also during that decade the Fugitive Slave Act not only made it easier for Southern Whites to hunt for escaped slaves in the North, it also made it easier for them to kidnap free Blacks into slavery. In the 20th century, the federal government, while fighting Japan and Nazi Germany – both of whom cast millions into concentration camps – imprisoned more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals in 10 concentration camps in the West.

White America had a lot of practice shedding morality and corrupting reason and the law to subjugate Americans of color. That dynamic is again at play – even to the point of Trump and his cowardly acolytes among the GOP also-rans claiming children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants don’t deserve the automatic citizenship conferred on them by the birthright citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Exploring the questions buried in Trump’s proposal also underscores how much “skin” Black Americans have in this game as well. The reason is that a mass-deportation scheme will in part require determining at the street level who is and is not Hispanic, and then demanding to see legal proof of citizenship. That people of Hispanic descent are “Brown” and “Black” as well as “White” and café au lait, would require, then, a wholesale racial profiling of not only Hispanic Americans but also U.S.-born Blacks and Black legal immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean as well. All these “colored” Americans will have to have their citizenship papers on them at all times.