Since last November, Donald Trump has insisted that he can do what President Eisenhower did in 1954: remove 1.5 million illegal Mexicans out of our country. But he can’t, because today nobody can, wall or no wall. Ike didn’t need a wall.
In 1954, Ike appointed retired Gen. Joseph “Jumpin’ Joe” Swing, a former West Point classmate and veteran of the 101st Airborne, as the new INS commissioner.
Influential politicians, including Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (D) of Texas and Sen. Pat McCarran (D) of Nevada, favored open borders, and were dead set against strong border enforcement, Brownell said. But General Swing’s close connections to the president shielded him – and the Border Patrol – from meddling by powerful political and corporate interests.
One of Swing’s first decisive acts was to transfer certain entrenched immigration officials out of the border area to other regions of the country where their political connections with people such as Senator Johnson would have no effect.
Then on June 17, 1954, what was called “Operation Wetback” began. Because political resistance was lower in California and Arizona, the roundup of aliens began there. Some 750 agents swept northward through agricultural areas with a goal of 1,000 apprehensions a day. By the end of July, over 50,000 aliens were caught in the two states. Another 488,000, fearing arrest, had fled the country.
Trump proposes to move the illegals deep into their home country, just like Ike.
Unlike today, Mexicans caught in the roundup were not simply released at the border, where they could easily reenter the US. To discourage their return, Swing arranged for buses and trains to take many aliens deep within Mexico before being set free.
Tens of thousands more were put aboard two hired ships, the Emancipation and the Mercurio. The ships ferried the aliens from Port Isabel, Texas, to Vera Cruz, Mexico, more than 500 miles south.
The sea voyage was “a rough trip, and they did not like it,” says Don Coppock, who worked his way up from Border Patrolman in 1941 to eventually head the Border Patrol from 1960 to 1973.
The problem lies in the political left, the press, Twitter, Facebook, Change.org, and the myriad liberal organizations who see it as a civil right for illegals to remain in America. The press would murder this before it ever got started.
The wall is a feint, a straw man. It’s something to focus on while the real problem is negotiated down to some mishmash gruel acceptable to the left.
To stop illegal immigration (not drug smuggling), we don’t even need a wall. If illegals believed they would be caught and returned via a rough sea trip, and have to pay a mule all over again, they would never try. Only the illegal drug trade would remain–and a wall will not stop tunnels, boats, submarines, and airplanes. Stopping drugs, where there’s a growing demand, is like the ultimate game of Whack-A-Mole. Stop one method, and the billionaire drug lords will find another. Not that we shouldn’t try, but Trump making comments like “gangs will disappear” is simply foolish boasting.
Drugs are a homeland problem as much as they are a border problem.
Mass roundups of illegal immigrants are equally thorny.
A mass deportation effort would be exponentially more difficult than during the Eisenhower era. For starters, the 1950s effort focused almost entirely on the four states that border Mexico. Illegal immigrants are more dispersed today than decades ago: New Jersey is estimated to have about 550,000 illegal immigrants in 2010; Illinois, 525,000; New York, 625,000; Georgia, 425,000; North Carolina, 325,000; Washington state 230,000.
Even more importantly, today there’s a large, well-organized, well-funded effort opposing the deportation of illegal immigrants that includes some state and city governments.
Any perceived or real brutality or human rights abuses in the deportation process would be given saturation coverage that would make Abu Gharib look like a one-day story.
Remember Elian Gonzalez? The boy (now 22) who was forcibly deported to Cuba after floating to Miami? Imagine that times ten thousand. It just can’t happen. There would be a camera crew, a multitude of smart phones, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever comes next hanging around every sally port of every prison or jail releasing illegals to be deported. There would be immediate and continuous coverage of every raid. Every use of force would need to be justified in the court of public opinion, and federal agents would face a variety of legal challenges.
And there would be riots. Because many on the anarchist left, like BLM, live to incite them, for any reason they find useful. Rounding up brown-skinned people for deportation is certainly one of those reasons.
The solution Trump–who loves to be liked–is touting just can’t be done. If it could, it would have been done 30 years ago when Reagan was in office. Reagan couldn’t get it done then, and no Republican has been able to since.
If we want to tackle illegal immigration, we don’t need no stinking wall. All we need is more men on horseback and in vehicles, who don’t have to worry about stepping on the wrong endangered species or running afoul of wilderness bans. Hire a few old passenger ships like Ike did–and deal with the ones who are here without causing riots.