This is Making America Great Again?
Since many of the liberal persuasion like to think things through. Monday’s revelation of the Donald Trump “emigration” plan for undocumented workers and now their families offered us a real chance to noodle on the logistics of moving somewhere between 10 and 20 million people in a big lump. Plus there would be ancillary consequences that Trump hasn’t spoken of that will come up as “unadvertised features.”
This is actually quite an interesting exercise, one that has only been attempted a couple times as far as I know. Both that I can think of were during WWII and on a smaller scale than Trump’s proposal. There is a similarity in that a scapegoat population that was blamed for the nation’s ills were being targeted without any factual data. One was the US moving Japanese to camps and the other was of course Germany moving Jewish people to concentration camps. For one thing those are both pretty lousy company to be keeping. But the fact that such a proposal is so horrendous won’t stop Trump, so today let’s just discuss the how.
First question is just where the heck are taking these people? Contrary to popular opinion not all of the future deportees hail from Mexico. Many come from other central American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Some come from South America countries such as Venezuela and there are also folks from European countries such as Ireland, Poland and others. Is the plan just to take them to the Texas – Mexico border and dump them?
If that is the plan, then the fence best be built first and it better be very impenetrable. Once again we can look back in history to Germany for some insight. when the Berlin Wall was a simple brick and barb wire fence folks broke through at some regularity. Once it evolved into a two wall system with a large sand area between the two wall escapes slowed way down. They also had to encircle Berlin. Will we need to encircle the whole country, Alaska and Hawaii? Not sure the True Value carries that much cement.
Now to the questions of actually gathering and deployment. Since it is unlikely that folks will voluntarily turn themselves in for deportation. rounding up the scapegoat population will be problem one. Not even going to venture a guess how that will be done. But I will guess that it will take a large force of people who will probably be poorly trained and make huge mistakes.
As the victims are rounded up, they will need to be held some where. Current jails won’t hold enough. Building huge holding buildings seems shortsighted since their use should end after a few years. Looks like abandoned military camps and private warehouses need to be put into service. This also will call for a large force of workers to run the holding areas.
As we develop the scenario we can see that many current workers will be removed forcibly from the workforce as they are detained and held for removal. There will also be many more workers needed to find and hold the targeted group. Unless we find more workers to fill the labor pool then the price of labor will rise. This should make corporations really upset. Perhaps Trump should suspend Social Security until the undocumented problem is solved, thus forcing the elderly out of retirement. This labor shortage would be an unadvertised feature.
Now we get to actually moving the targeted population. It took Germany some 7 years to move 6 million people. The German were quite efficient, so we can use that as a gauge. What means of transport will we use? Let’s assume that the Texas – Mexico border is the chosen location. I will suggest here that trains and buses be the transport of choice so no planes get hijacked. Remember we will need several security guards for every bus or rail car. Thus another hit to the labor force. Plus we will need more drivers and mechanics and other support personnel.
How many can we move on one train or bus? I have no idea, but just for the sake of argument let’s say we can get 2,000 on a train. That is assuming we give them seats and bathroom access. If we move them in crammed freight cars like the Germans did that number could grow, but there may be some courts that have a problem with that. So 20,000,000 at 2,000 per train would mean 20,000 trains. Just for the sake of argument let’s say we could move 10 trains per day, then that would take 2,000 days or about 6 years. Remember that most railroads are tied up moving oil right now, so where do we find the extra capacity? If we use buses at @ 100 per bus then it would take 20 buses to replace a train. Do we have the capacity?
Before we start sending folks to Mexico, we will need to stop the workers who live in Mexico and work in the US who cross daily. Not sure how many, but somehow they will need to be replaced or the businesses moved. That border must be tight as a drum long before we start the deportations.
Another consideration, or maybe not if you are Trump, is what the receiving countries are to do with a huge influx of families that will need food and housing. Trump will probably say that they should have thought of that when they started sending their people over in the first place. He is a little short on humanitarian genes.
Even at a very cursory look, shipping 20 million people out of the US is not an easy task. It will also be fraught with unanticipated problems and probably be met with great resistance. You also may have noted throughout that there will be a huge effect on the labor pool within the US. There will be a huge number of jobs created identifying, holding and transporting the targeted population. There may also be jobs possibly created in building both the wall itself and perhaps train cars and buses, maybe holding areas also.
Thus the labor pool will get tight. This means wages will likely rise and unions may once again be able to get a foothold in industry. A couple of ways of dealing with this would be to increase the labor pool. Newt Gingrich wanted to end child labor laws a few years ago. A tight labor market could give impetus to that. Ending Social Security or at least profitizing has been a Republican dream for 80 years. This may be the spur that could get that really moving.
And if we look once again into the past we see that corporations have dealt with tight labor markets before. One of their preferred solutions has been to bring in workers from poorer countries as undocumented workers. They have been able to get away with this through bribery to the corrupt politicians and police that allow it to happen. They have yet to pay any price for this. All they would need is a small hole in that fence……….