Do Republicans Really Want to Create 12 Million Refugees?

Mickey Kaus wonders why the GOP elite is still "clinging to amnesty" for illegal immigrants.  I have the same thought every time I hear someone rail against "amensty":  What the f*ck else are we going to do?  Put 12 million people in jail for violating immigration laws?  Are we really talking about deporting 12 million people?  Do you have any idea how ugly this will be?  I don't want to commit a Godwin's Law violation, but rousting people -- whole families -- out of their homes at gunpoint and loading them up on trucks and trains to be shipped en mass somewhere else -- does this sound like any other 20th century event to you?  If you wanted to find some other precedent for this that was not the German shipping of Jews to Poland, what would even be close?

Looked at another way, the disastrous government and civil war in Syria has created, by UN estimates, 4 million refugees.  At a stroke, do Republicans really want to create 12 million refugees?  I get it that there is an ugly populist sentiment in a percentage of the Republican base to let Mexicans go hang, but the definition of responsible leadership in a Republic has got to include ignoring, or at least defusing, these sentiments.  But the current crop of Republican Presidential candidates seem no more willing to avoid this particular evil than Democratic candidates can seem to rise above ugly sentiments in their base to put the 1% richest people up against a wall.


  1. ECM:

    Over 60% of Americans want this problem solved, across all political persuasions, and your doctrinaire libertarian stance--where you play make-believe that this issue is merely confined to the 'ugly populist right'--may play well with the audience of this blog, but it does not play in Peoria, as the saying goes.

  2. CT_Yankee:

    While I seem to recall Stalin doing something like this, long before and continuing long after the Germans, I think the WWII internment of AMERICANS of Japanese decent might make a better example. It is always easier to point out that someone else did wrong, and people are not always to quick to acknowledge that the people we put into concentration camps likely did not select their parents.

    On the illegal alien deportation issue, one thing that is absolutely clear is that they have demonstrated that they are not willing to follow our laws just by being here.

  3. Chris:

    Look I'm all for open borders as much as the next Libertarian but you of all people know that only works when there are no incentives to come here beyond the concept of "hard work gets you ahead". The US has taken care of people who have no moral claim to be here for too long. If you want to first start with eliminating the free health care we provide (no one can be turned away rule) and going to a school voucher system where taxpayers can give the voucher to the school of their choice for their children's education there would be a lot less incentive for people to come here illegally. Then we could see where those 12 million people's loyalties really lie, with free shit, or with hard work.

  4. Daublin:

    Good ideas. I think it's quite helpful to look into these measures of misery, to have a rough idea about the scale of different issues being discussed. It turns out that 12 million refugees is way up the list, although a few things do top it.

    In World War 2, about 100k Japanese Americans were interred during World War 2. That's 100x smaller than 12million refugees.

    Stalin's mass movement of Kulaks in the early 1930s involved a little over 2million of them. Over a half million of them soon died. That's about 10x smaller than 12million refugees.

    The German concentration camps... well, they killed somewhere from 15million-20million inmates. That's slightly larger than 12million people.

    Stalin's Ukrainian famine in 1932-33 killeng 2.5-7.5million people. Mao's Great Leap Forward starved a much larger number, more like 15-30million. Both of these are in the ballpark of 12million refugees.

    On the flip side, lots of issues that get great discussion are really quite miniscule in comparison. If you were a world leader who was mainly trying to help out ordinary human beings, then to a first approximation you should just ignore such small things.

    The September 11 attacks killed 3000 people.

    The recent ISIS attack in Paris killed 130 people. It was pitiful.

    Mass attacks on primary schools have killed 155 people in the last 40 years (

    Curiously, *individual attacks* have been much deadlier in aggregate, and have killed 443 people in the same period of time. But it's still pretty small on the scale of things that matter. It's a little less than childhood death by asthma.

    OK that's enough. TLDR: 12million is a crapton of people. Don't screw this up!

  5. Daublin:

    That's exactly the point. If you just straightforwardly enforced existing law, you'd do basically the same thing as numerous tyrants did in history.

    Now, one conclusion is that the tyrants weren't as bad as they were made out to be. It's easy to see why they did what they did, isn't it? Maybe "tyrant" isn't even the right word. It's rather perjorative.

    On the other hand, history has not been kind to leaders who do that kind of thing.

  6. Mark Lilly:

    " they have demonstrated that they are not willing to follow our laws just by being here."

    What does this mean? - Yes, do arrest, house + deport 12M or don't? Should all legal alien residents who roll through a stop sign be deported? They've shown they are not willing to follow our laws.

  7. CT_Yankee:

    "What does this mean?"

    Well illegal alien means they entered the country illegally, or that they overstayed their visas. That means that they broke our laws about being here too long, or by being here at all. So if they are here illegally, they have broken our laws. That is why they are illegal aliens, the "illegal" part was a hint.

    You do not deport them for rolling through a stop sign, you deport them for being here illegally. It does not matter at all how they came to be caught, it they are, they get deported. Plenty of people get stopped for minor traffic offenses, and are found to be wanted for committing crimes, and are arrested on the spot. They don't send them to jail for the minor traffic offense, they send them to jail for the assault, robbery, or other crime they committed long before getting in the car that day. In your example, they would be deported for violating our immigration laws, the crime having been discovered when they were noticed rolling through a stop sign.

  8. mesocyclone:

    No, the Republican party (Trump excepted) has no plans to deport all of the illegals. It has plans to not put them in a favored position relative to all the people in the world who wish to come here legally. It is completely against granting them citizenship, and it is right to do so.

  9. mesocyclone:

    Apparently you do not consider motive and the rule of law in your moral calculus. So a tyrant expels people because he wants to is morally equivalent to a country merely enforcing its laws?


  10. Matthew Slyfield:

    "Furthermore, the principally Mexican component of these aliens are not,
    nor will they ever be, "refugees"--they are economic migrants"

    Coyote is not saying that they are refugees now, he is saying that mass deportations will turn them into refugees

    "The fact is, you do not need to round-up and deport 'x' millions of people, you merely need to enforce pre-existing law."

    Yes, in fact you do need to round-up and deport 'x' millions of people because that is exactly what would be required to strictly enforce pre-existing law. If you don't round them up and deport them, you aren't enforcing the pre-existing law. Go ahead and ignore the fact that the government doesn't have the resources to do this even if it wanted to.

  11. Thomas Reid:

    The Democrat's deportation plan is much more humane: regulate and tax the economy to the point where the 12 million illegal immigrants will leave willingly.

  12. mx:

    I sympathize, but just as we can't have 12 million people living in the shadows forever, we also can't have:

    - Hospitals that require your citizenship papers before they'll treat your heart attack
    - Millions of US Citizen children ineligible for school, which aside from the moral problems, would wind up costing us far more in social services in the long-term

  13. chembot:

    The answer isn't to send out the gestapo (the Arpaio?) to roust the brown folk from their homes in the dead of night. The best solution is if they deport themselves voluntarily.

    Frankly, if I were seriously trying to wring the illegals out of the system it wouldn't be to crack down on the workers directly. The enforcement should be on the businesses who profit from cheap 2nd class labor. Start levying very large fines for breaking the law. Also, I would be in favor of forcing these companies when caught to sponsor their illegals for work visas at penalty rates to prevent the mass dumping of these people before an expected raid. Without the jobs and attendant income, many of these folk go away on their own or find a way to go above board.

    (By the way, I've never believed these are "jobs Americans won't do". The difficulty is that many of these jobs are labor intensive and a lot of companies don't want to pay the market clearing rate for that american labor. Is that wrong? Probably no more so than outsourcing to India/China or other regions with comparative advantage in wages.)

    That being said, some of the stuff Trump says about immigration is truly repulsive and the fact that a plurality of Republican voters seem to sympathize with his whacked views is disturbing. I really don't see how anybody in that party thinks this is going to be a winner issue for them when it comes before the general electorate and they made to look like a bunch of racists. There is already going to be "The war on women, Part II" when hillary gets anointed, why add another trumped up minority grievance on top of that?

  14. Curious:

    What if those illegal families decided to squat en masse on your campgrounds. Would you favor the police loading them onto trucks to take them elsewhere?

  15. slocum:

    Do you have any evidence that illegal immigrants are not paying rent where they live? Do you doubt that Coyote would welcome illegal immigrants as customers (and, in fact, almost certainly already has some of those folks as customers)?

  16. ErikEssig:

    The 12 million illegals here don't fit any definition of refugee I can find handy, you have a source for that Warren?

  17. slocum:

    "The enforcement should be on the businesses who profit from cheap 2nd class labor. Start levying very large fines for breaking the law."

    But this kind of thing would require a very heavy, intrusive hand of the federal government in all employment situations. Any kind of day labor would have to be banned (because nobody could check immigration status so quickly). And why, after the Obamacare online exchange debacle and other government IT fiasco, would you trust the federal government to build and maintain the required databases and do the job right? Also, what of illegals who form their own lawn-care crews, for example. Should home-owners be at legal risk for not verifying the immigration status of the guys they hire to mow their lawns and rake their leaves?

    Think, in practical terms, of all the government machinery that would be required to really crack down on anyone hiring illegals and ask yourself if that would really make the country a better, freer place. Really, what's so terrible about the status quo?

  18. Maximum Liberty:

    Why can't we have 12 million people who don't have legal status? What exactly is wrong with the status quo (in which those illegal kids do generally go to public schools)?

    It's not my preferred solution, but it is my second-best (and much more likely to be the law than my preferred solution). Plus, it doesn't require our politicians to do anything that looks suspiciously like thinking.

  19. Maximum Liberty:

    Have you ever broken the speed limit? If so, how do you not put yourself into the same group as those who "have demonstrated that they are not willing to follow our laws"?

  20. bigmaq1980:

    Sorry, but the government is the one responsible for immigration enforcement, so they ought to already have a database of who is legally allowed to work. The only issue is then having a publicly available database that businesses can make a query against. This should be relatively trivial vs Obamacare.

    If anything, one could conceive this being a privacy related issue, given the potential for abuse.

    And, yes, it gets into a morass of legal complications when it comes to personal/household services.

  21. J Calvert:

    The issue is not what to do with the 12 million illegals already here, but how to solve the problem without encouraging 12 million more illegals to come.

    I doubt more than a small percentage of US citizens favor deportation, but I bet a solid majority (Democrats and Republicans) favor stopping the decades long problem of NEW illegal migrants. It is disingenuous to argue that the only positions are deporting 12 million people or blanket amnesty with no future enforcement.

  22. bigmaq1980:

    "a lot of companies don't want to pay the market clearing rate for that american labor"

    Great point. This is not just true for agriculture, etc., but of high-tech too. Increase the supply...

  23. bigmaq1980:

    But, the point in the article is more that "amnesty" is thrown around amongst many in the GOP on anything less than full deportation - at least in most of the "conservative media" - largely the same group yelling "RINO!", and now yelling "Trump!".

    It is to the point that anyone who wants to discuss a policy that has any chance of getting enacted (e.g. your proposal that they stay but don't get citizenship) risks getting labeled as supporting "amnesty" - and risk losing a future election.

    The whole issue has been in stasis for years because of that fear.

  24. MNHawk:

    "does this sound like any other 20th century event to you?"

    Actually it sounds like what my life would be, in the 21st century, if I violate the immigration laws of the country I plan to retire to, next year. Believe it or not, other countries really do enforce their laws.

  25. bigmaq1980:

    As one who is not a supporter of open borders (at least not with the world we have today), it long ago seemed evident that "just enforcing the existing law" to deport all the illegal immigrants is about as likely as Dems and the MSM suddenly becoming "enraged at the discovery" that Hillary Clinton (and Bill) had been secretly abusing public office (and influence) to gather more personal wealth and power.

    Let's get practical, since we are talking about the scale of 11M+ people (some claim 30M+).

    Unless we change the rules, each will get "due process". From law officers to lawyers and immigration administrators needed to manage this, what are the "all in" costs? Are these people to be detained - if so, don't forget about cost of food, housing, and loss of taxes (remember, many/most? are earning an income that will end)?

    How do these costs stack up against any cost for them remaining here?

    How long will this all take? At what point is it taking "too long" - 12 months, 24, 48, 96? Costs increase with the length of processing time.

    Also, we have the precedent of statute of limitations laws on crime - is this immigration violation more like (non-violent) felonious crimes (avg 5-7 years) or misdemeanor crimes (avg 2-3 years)? If these people were here longer than these limits, should they still be processed?

    Don't know if there are such limitations on immigration violations, be if so, does our government's failure to enforce its own laws reason enough to forego these limitations? If not, what about the cost of (an avalanche of) legal challenges, as surely there will be by sympathetic organizations?

    What are the political / societal costs?

    About the only way to effectively deport 11M+ in a timely manner will be a major escalation of force. In a country where the politics is roughly 50/50, with but a few brief instances of clear dominance by one or the other party, the resulting flare up in emotions and
    confrontations may well get us close to the brink of a civil war.

    Think not? How would the state of California react? After all, this is a state that issues driver's licenses to these people.
    And is a "sanctuary state" (among several states, counties and cities). Hard to believe that CA and the rest would just sit back and let the feds just do their job.
    And how will the Dems and the MSM play this up?

    No, there just doesn't seem to be appetite for deportation on this scale. Forcing follow through will surely lose those who are sympathetic to the problem.

    Deportation of anybody other than those who live a life of crime is just a pipe dream.

    This red herring concern about "amnesty" has kept anybody from getting anything on the table to actually fix border security.

    Enforcement from the point that is complete, forward makes sense, but if that doesn't get done, all the rest doesn't matter.

  26. chembot:

    Already in place. Everyone has to fill out an I-9 employment eligibility form when applying for a job. Also, attendant tax forms are created like the W-4 for tax witholding, plus a whole slew of other things required by employers to legally plug their workers into the apparatus. These usually require some form of verifiable identification and a social security or resident alien number. Even if they are considered 1099 style independent contractors there are ways and means for determining eligibility to work. Some jurisdictions require use of the E-verify system (definitely an imperfect method) for monitoring compliance with various state and federal laws already

    If the event the employer is paying their entire facility "under the table", they are likely breaking quite a few more serious laws than just immigration ones and deserve to be acted on anyway.

  27. chembot:

    "Plus, it doesn't require our politicians to do anything that looks suspiciously like thinking."

    lol. With the average politician's shifty low cunning I suppose that ends up being more dangerous than the normal mode of operation where they act with the feels of the people,

  28. wreckinball:

    Mass deportation is not practical. Mass importation into our welfare state is even more impractical.
    Secure the borders please. Enforce the law as you have sworn to do and then we can discuss what to do with the 10-30 million illegals,

  29. wreckinball:

    Have you ever broken the speed limit, received a ticket and then went to court and pleaded amnesty or everyone else did doing it so its OK.
    LOL good luck. Enforce the law.

  30. wreckinball:

    Why does it have to be the decision between a mass deportation or amnesty. Enforce the borders NOW. If you encounter illegals for other reasons, like they are arrested or cited for some reason deport them.
    We don't have a national round-up of all types of other offenders who may be evading detection. But when they are found usually by doing something else wrong they must face the music.

  31. mx:

    Ah E-Verify, where you can't work unless a government computer says you can. Any libertarian's dream, right?

  32. TransHat:

    If 12 million people said they not going to pay taxes any more, would the IRS just throw up their hands and say well gee, that's so many people, we can't do anything, we can't even begin to collect.

  33. Glenn Geist:

    Seriously, this very issue is why Libertarians will never, ever, be a political force of any consequence. If a country cannot and/or will not enforce legal borders, it will cease to be a country. Open borders is only a valid concept absent the modern welfare state. I embrace Libertarian concepts, but this policy of mindless adherence to an unworkable principle - open borders - is as reflexive and stupid as any liberal's fear of guns. A "country" or "nation" implies an "us" and a "them". If "them" invade and make demands of "us", without playing by the rules established, then "them" deserve deportation by any means necessary. The Nazi comparison is completely invalid; the Jews of Europe were long-established and legal citizens of their various countries, not invading hordes. Shame on you for countenancing that comparison.

  34. LoneSnark:

    The Tyrannical government passed a law and then merely enforced it. Our government passed a law requiring these people to be deported just because it wants to is no different from another government passing a law requiring different people to be deported just because it wants to.

    That our law was approved by a legislature does not make it better. Stalin had a legislature too, so did Hitler.

  35. LoneSnark:

    So in your opinion, the United States did not exist until the late 19th Century with laws restricting the immigration of Chinese folk only?

    As for your assertion about the Jews in WW2, not at all. Many of them were in fact recent immigrants fleeing persecution elsewhere in Europe which became very severe after the devastation of WW1 triggered the largest migration of people in history, until it was ultimately surpassed by the migration induced by the devastation of WW2.

    In fact, in some instances the Jews were not just recent immigrants, but illegal immigrants as most countries had unenforced laws on their books trying to keep just such undesirables out (Jews, Gypsies, etc).

  36. wreckinball:

    Huh?, We pass laws so that we have law and order and not anarchy. Stalin and Hitler were dictators with puppet legislatures. I have issues with ours also but the comparison is ridiculous

  37. wreckinball:

    Agree the Jew comparison was lame. They were citizens of Germany. I think once you have to use Nazi/Hitler analogies you ar eon the road to losing the argument.
    Countries have borders and residents i.e. citizens

  38. wreckinball:

    Did Trump say repulsive things about immigrants or illegal aliens? There is a difference. One is legal one is not (i.e. they are criminals).
    I'm not a big Trump supporter but one thing I like about him is he says what he means in plain English. Very un-politician like. Folks seem to put a lot of words in his mouth at times.
    What are your thoughts on squatters and trespassers? Ok if they just hang out at your place?

  39. Rob Raffety:

    The best solution to the "problem" of illegal immigration is to mostly ignore it. I say mostly because businesses that employ illegals en- masse should face some sort of consequence.

    "[Illegal immigration] is only good so long as it's illegal" - Milton Friedman.
    The whole video is worth a watch,

  40. Mercury:

    " I don't want to commit a Godwin's Law violation, but rousting people -- whole families -- out of their homes at gunpoint and loading them up on trucks and trains to be shipped en mass somewhere else -- does this sound like any other 20th century event to you? "

    Actually, Yes:

    No, we shouldn't want to do something like that again but I can understand why many aren't buying politicians' promises to "pass Amnesty and then we'll get serious about border security".

    Go ask a Swede how they feel about the peaceful, socialist, culturally-cohesive country they grew up with suddenly becoming the #2 rape capital IN THE WORLD after S. Africa. Gee whiz! I wonder what happened? Bad fish eggs or something? It sounds like a sh*tshow over there now:

  41. HenryBowman419:

    I must disagree with your characterization of such people as "refugees". Most are citizens of other countries and can easily return to their home countries without fear of persecution for any reason. Because of such, they are not refugees.

  42. Rick C:

    Ridiculous demagoguery. After the 2008 recession, lots of illegals unable to find jobs simply went back home. If we did things like enforce e-verify and made it harder for the current crop of illegals to find jobs, many of them would leave again. Warren's legion of jack-booted thugs going door-to-door is a strawman, but he's never been honest enough to admit it.

  43. Mark Lilly:

    You skipped the more meaningful question I asked.

    Should someone on a H1B visa who rolls through a stop sign automatically be deported? They've undeniable "shown they are not willing to follow our laws."

  44. Thane_Eichenauer:

    If you think children in the US learn a good moral code from government school I don't think you have been paying attention. An immediate end to government schools would save billions from better moral behavior.

  45. chembot:

    Most definitely not the libertarian's dream. Didn't say I agreed with the system implementation as it exists now, just that it exists. But I think there is a point to be made that we can follow laws without agreeing with them

    for instance, I. Believe income taxes to be immoral, I would prefer to not to pay them. But I do not choose to live my life as a tax evader. If I did though, I fully expect the government to enforce duly enacted laws against me if I get caught, same as if I were a drug dealer or any other criminal That is the perils of being a criminal. Don't like it, engage in democracy and get the laws changed.

  46. chembot:

    You seem to think that I am an open borders advocate. I suggest you reead my original post again and see if any of that comports with that philosophy.

    My views on squatters and trespassers are irrelevant, but I will humor the loaded question. Tresspassers implies criminal intent. I view illegal immigration as being a violation of this sort, but not really the same degree. If they are paying their rent, paying income taxes and other generally applicable levies, and not generally being a drain on the social infrastructure then I don't view them the same as a bum that pitches their tent and sleeping bag on your property unwillingly. In fact, I have far more of a problem with our own homegrown parasitic welfare queens whose great saving virtue by your logic is an appropriate birth certificate.

    As for your second question "Ok if they just hang out at your place?", I must say I find the premise irritating. If I don't house the illegals myself and perhaps encourage them to bring their friends, why, look at chembot the hypocrite! To me this is similar to when liberals claim they want "tolerance" for a particular group of people when they are really demanding outright approval and encouragement of lifestyles you may only reluctantly accept. The more appropriate question is do I have a beef if a family of illegals holding down jobs becomes my next door neighbor. As long as they are not setting up a crack den or some sort of underage bordello, or other generally objectionable criminal enterprise, the answer is generally no.

    That being said, I don't like queue jumping aspect of illegal migration and think it is deeply unfair to those who go through the absurdly long and expensive legal process to be above board. I don't think it is right that companies can cheat to use an easily exploited cadre of 2nd class labor. I don't think it is right that our government makes it so difficult for economic migrants to be above board, so much so that it is preferable to use coyotes and indenture to smuggle yourself in for a job. And I don't think it is right that any talk of rationalizing the system we have know gets boiled down to "Do you support 'amnesty' for illegals?"

    I am not a trump supporter for a lot of reasons, immigration stance being only one reason. I believe has has about the same level of substance as Obama even if his vapidity is of a somewhat different political flavor. Have you noticed that his stump speeches rarely have specific policies attached to them? But there are an awful lot of exhortations about how he is the big leagues, all the others are small time, and his vision for america is "yuge." I can understand not being enamored of the political class, but of the three "non-politicians" in the republican field, both Fiorina and Carson have far more substance than Trump, if rather less in terms of larger than life bombast.

  47. bigmaq1980:

    "I think once you have to use Nazi/Hitler analogies you are on the road to losing the argument."

    That's a trope about a trope (and Coyote even says he is employing it), and not at all an argument in itself.

    One can argue that it doesn't fit, but sometimes references to Nazi Germany are a good fit.

    In this case, it seems a reasonable fit if we are talking about methods employed and attitudes behind it (note, not the underlying legal reason).

    Open borders won't work right now, ok - agree - the 11M+ people are here illegally, ok - agree - but most posters here keep focusing exclusively on those points, when this article is about the viability of deporting them all.

    Is it viable? How? Give us your "all in" case.

  48. CT_Yankee:

    You choose the most insignificant thing, such as a minor traffic violation, and then somehow find it compares to something major like not having any legal right to be here at all. If someone has a valid H1B visa, then they came here legally, and they can mail in a check or go argue their case in court, and then, like everyone else who is here legally, deal with it and move on. Those who are found here illegally, whether they rolled through a stop sign or were caught for any other reason, get sent home. It's like you want to argue that someone was double parked in front of the bank while they robbed it, and treat is as a parking violation, and then forget the whole armed robbery thing. That is the thing everyone else cares about. While the robber is in jail for robbing the bank, they are not committing any more parking violations, and once the illegal alien is deported, they no longer roll through our stop signs. The double parking and the stop sign is some petty thing no one cares about except the politicians raking in the fines. The bank robbery and the sneaking past our borders is what matters. If the bank robber does nothing else wrong, we still jail them, and if the illegal alien stops at every sign, we still deport them when we catch them, and in either case, it doesn't matter at all what they were doing when they were actually caught.

  49. Mercury:

    It's a different ballgame now because A) the world is that much more populous B) The US is that much less empty and C) it is much, much easier and cheaper for people to travel from one part of the world to another.