By Elizabeth Elizalde
When Donald Trump talks, he makes me and many of my friends in the immigrant community angry.
As the daughter of immigrants from Ecuador and Mexico, I know how hard my parents fought to become American citizens and how much it means to all of us. My family and the families of other immigrants from Latin America and all over the world, who call the United States home, find Donald Trump’s proposals and talk offensive.
Trump boasts that he would send the American-born children of immigrants back to their parents’ birth countries because they didn’t have the appropriate documents when they entered the U.S. to make a living.
He says he wants to end “birthright citizenship” for children of illegal immigrants born in the U.S., but he doesn’t seem to care that he’s ranting about American citizens. Nor does he seem to understand that thousands of young people know no other homeland than the U.S.
“We’re going to keep the families together, but they have to go,” Trump said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. His comments came after he issued his 1,900-word immigration proposal to deport the nation’s 12 million unauthorized immigrants.
“They’re illegal,” he said. “You either have a country or not.”
But yes, they do have a country — the United States of America, Mr. Trump.
Apparently, he doesn’t seem to understand, or care, that Latino U.S. citizens vote. Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, told ConsumerMojo, “Trump’s comments on immigration continue to hurt and offend immigrants. They are also doing untold damage to any hope for Republicans to engage Latino voters in the 2016 elections.”
In Washington, Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream, the nation’s largest immigrant youth-led organization, finds itself mobilized by Trump’s outrageous attacks on immigrants. “Donald Trump’s immigration plan is dehumanizing and hateful,” she told us. “His position, the mass deportation of people like me and my parents and millions more immigrants across the country go against the values of this country.”
In fact, Trump’s wrong-minded policy displays his ignorance of the law. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, adopted on July 9, 1868, grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”
That means, regardless of a parent’s immigration status, children born in the U.S. or who gained citizenship here, can’t have their rights yanked because a politician wants to.
Trump also vows to block the progressive initiatives of President Obama’s executive order. It gave children and young people brought to this country by their parents an opportunity to get an education and to work without fear of deportation. Thousands of these DREAMers and DACA beneficiaries feel real anxiety and wonder why Trump chose to score political points by attacking them.
Even if we put the law, decency and fairness aside, Trump’s plan ignores the economics of his proposals for mass detentions and deportations. But other Republican candidates like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker joined the Trump bandwagon to deport citizens born to undocumented parents.
A 2010 study by the Center for American Progress found mass deportation could cost American taxpayers $100 to $200 billion. And holding immigrants in American jail cells could cost $29 billion.
One more thing to consider: It would cost $23,482 to apprehend, detain, prosecute, and then physically remove one person from the U.S. Multiply that by 12 million and then ask Trump about his budget plans.