Deport them all — unless they can help with the wall |

Deport them all — unless they can help with the wall

Allyn Harvey
Staff Photo |

The Washington Post published a story earlier this week outlining the immigration policy that President Trump promises to enact should he be elected, and it is startling. Of course he would need Congress and the Supreme Court to agree on some fronts, but no doubt he could do much with the power of the presidency.

And boy would that be a power grab. Herr Trump, er, I mean President Trump, plans to extend the reach of the federal government into maternity wards across the nation in order to determine the citizenship status of the parents of each and every baby born. Then, if U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement Baby Rangers determine that the newborn’s parents are in the U.S. without documentation, they will be separated from their child and sent to prison to await deportation.

America will become the ultimate Nanny State under that scenario, with the U.S. government apparently assuming parental responsibility for millions of children whose parents are being deported. But President Trump has a solution for that problem … he wants to strip our Constitution of the 14th Amendment guarantee that all who are born on U.S. soil are U.S. citizens. Then maybe he’ll send babies to prison too.

The 14th Amendment was passed in the aftermath of the Civil War, partly to overturn the Dred Scott ruling by the Supreme Court, which said descendants of African slaves could not be citizens. At the time of its passage, the Washington Post documents, political leaders expressed concerns that the children of Chinese and gypsies would achieve citizenship — but they went ahead and passed it anyway. Never mind that the amendment also provides protections like due process and equal protection under the law. President Trump is willing to weaken it so he can cater to the xenophobia of the Republican Party’s far right.

After he meets the constitutional requirement that two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the state legislatures vote to undo the 14th Amendment, President Trump can get going on building that wall he’s been promising us.

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The problem of course is the size and scope of that project — an impenetrable contiguous wall along the border of four states (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California) from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. It will need to go deep in the ground and high in the air. It will need to be wired so that cameras can catch the movements of every bilingual seeking a better life in America.

Building such a wall will require skilled tradesmen and labor, which in much of the country is unionized. The trouble for President Trump and his wall is that if there is one thing Republican presidential candidates hate more than undocumented immigrants, it’s organized labor.

Look no further for proof than the Koch Brothers and their Billionaire Boys Club obsession with Gov. Scott Walker, the presidential aspirant who is rapidly turning Wisconsin into the Mississippi of the north. Those billionaires and multi-millionaires are pouring piles of money into PACs that support Walker’s campaign, based on his successful efforts to deunionize the state by undermining worker organizing rights and other protections. These are the fools, er, I mean funders of the Tea Party wing of Congress that is working to undermine every good idea we’ve had in this country since the 1890s.

So if President Trump is going to build a wall, he’s going to have to find non-unionized skilled labor. I would suggest he hire some Mexicans and some Wisconsinites to do it. The Mexicans I know in the construction trades work hard and are quite skilled, regardless of their visa status. (I can’t speak for cheeseheads in the trades, but I reckon they have been well trained by the union shops they once belonged to.)

In Trump’s mind all Mexicans are “criminals” and “rapists,” but at least they aren’t unionized.

Allyn Harvey is a Carbondale resident and writer. He serves on the town Board of Trustees and runs a PR and political consultancy. He can be reached at

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