Self Deportation: Taking Oneself Out!

Self Deportation: Taking Oneself Out! 


by Jerry Jacobsen

A growing number of the electorate, including those millions who sat through the recent presidential debates, has come to know one of the newest phrases in politics, “self deportation.”


On the outset, it sounds like an implosion of sorts, or a as the Bible would phrase it, a “house divided against itself.”


Self-deportation, of course, is not a large-scale suicide pact, nor a way to mail oneself to another country.  It is instead the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s stance, as well as his party’s platform, on immigration reform.  The idea?  To make the United States as uninhabitable and unattractive as possible for undocumented immigrants so that they will voluntarily leave the country.  The key action at its core is to discourage - discourage illegal immigrants from wanting to come to America, and remove those “magnets” that have historically brought them here (jobs, food, education, etc.).


While the term “self-deportation” is not found on Mitt Romney’s web site, he has used the term on several occasions publicly, including the aforementioned debates. Here’s an excerpt from the candidate’s site under “Immigration” explaining his position:


Discourage Illegal Immigration

  •  Mitt Romney will develop an effective, mandatory employment verification system that will enable employers to be sure that those they hire are eligible to work. This will discourage illegal immigrants from coming to America to seek jobs.
  • Governor Romney opposes all “magnets” that entice illegal immigrants to come to our country.   As governor, he vetoed in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
  • As president, Mitt Romney will foster a legal immigration system that works. This will offer an alternative to those who would otherwise enter illegally.  For instance, reforming our current temporary worker program will offer employers who need such staff a legal option to find employees.


While immigration reform is certainly a hot issue that many Americans feel needs to be addressed, the idea to discourage life, liberty and happiness for people within the country, at its face value, appears counter to the tenets upon which it is based (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…?”)  Indeed for Angelenos, where current census information indicates 48% are of Latino or Hispanic origin, this idea can prove especially significant for voter decisions in this year’s election.


So what are some people saying?  Randomly asking Latinos in Los Angeles about their thoughts on self-deportation yielded the following reactions:

“Good idea.  Not going to happen.”


“Who’s going to pay for the kids when the parents leave?  The government.”


“To give them a chance, the kids need to go to school.  How will they do that?”


“They’re not going to do it.  Have you been to Guatemala or Mexico?”


While clearly unscientific in methodology, these responses reveal some critical touch-points facing the community – the question is how this translates to the voting booths this election.


The rest of the quote from the Mark 3:35 Scripture?  “A house divided against itself” it continues “cannot stand.”  It will be interesting to see if this one will…




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