Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.
For all the recent talk of deportation, there hasn’t been much discussion of what the process of deportation actually looks like. It’s hard to imagine that the 81% of white Evangelical Christians who voted for Trump have seriously considered what mass deportation actually looks like. It’s not like the government says “Go home,” and 11 million people pack up and meet at the border.
There was an exhibit in Chicago last year called They Risked Their Lives: Poles who saved Jews during the Holocaust that seems particularly relevant to this conversation – real stories of what happens when the government decides that millions need to be rounded up.
When mass-deportation starts, law enforcement will raid homes in the middle of the night and forcefully arrest suspects. Sometimes they’ll get it wrong. Sometimes they’ll knock down the wrong house, or arrest a family with legal residency.
(Click on the pictures to see a larger version).
Like the War on Terrorism, the raids will never end. Trump’s not going to say, “Okay, all the illegal immigrants are gone. All you law enforcement officers, thanks for your hard work, but the problem’s solved. You’re fired.”
Let’s say cops in Phoenix kick down a door at 2am and pull a family of four out of their home. What happens next? Are they loaded into the squad car and driven straight to the border?
There’s an intermediate step – a processing center where the suspect is detained, backgrounds are checked, paperwork is filed, and transportation is arranged. Bureaucracy is slow, so it may take weeks or months to get someone through the process.
To deport 11 million people, we’ll need capacity to hold several hundred thousand people at a time. We’ll need dozens of these centers across the country.
These detention centers and internment camps will be hellish for their residents (again, some of whom will be there by mistake). They’ll be run as inexpensively as possible. They’ll be overcrowded. Food and supplies will be shitty and scarce. People will get sick. There won’t be enough medical treatment on hand. Disease will run rampant.
Many of the detainees will be children. Will families stay together, or will parents and kids be housed in separate wings?
Fights will break out. There will be little security. How do you keep law in a place like that anyway? What do you threaten them with? Prison?
People will die in custody. Elderly will die in custody. Children will die in custody.
Eventually, the buses will come. Families will be dumped across the border – broke, unemployed, homeless, facing the same lack of economic opportunities that prompted their courageous journey in the first place. Only now, instead of being in their hometown with a network of friends and family, they’re surrounded by tens of thousands of deportees facing the same predicament.
What will Mexico do with them? Refugee camps?
Soon after the raids begin, it’s going to become obvious how shitty the situation is. There will be friends, neighbors, employers – people whose beliefs compel them to “rescue the poor and helpless” – who will show compassion by offering shelter and protection.
What happens to those who offer aid to “illegals”?