Nazi SS troops load Jews into boxcars at Marseille, France, in January 1943. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Nazi SS troops load Jews into boxcars at Marseille, France, in January 1943. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Weeks of over-the-top comments from Presidential hopeful Donald Trump have numbed us to what may be his most outrageous—and truly scary—remark.

In an interview with CNN last week, he said America should deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants then let the “good ones” back in, but without an opportunity for citizenship.

“We got to move ’em out, we’re going to move ’em back in if they’re really good people,” he told Dana Brush.

Trump would not say how he would locate, round up and deport those 11 million, and wasn’t sure whether he would deport children, but said he would use efficient business methods.

Donald Trump. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

The last time so many people were deported was in World War II, when Nazi Germany rounded up 11 million Jews, Gypsies, gays and political opponents and transported them in boxcars to concentration camps. Many died en route, and most of the rest were shot and gassed in humanity’s most barbaric example of systematic genocide.

No one accuses Trump of something so horrible, but how would the self-proclaimed business genius organize this new deportation of 11 million people?

Presumably his staff would consider air travel inappropriate and too costly, and opt instead for buses. A standard Greyhound intercity bus seats 50, so it would take 220,000 bus trips, perhaps less if children were required to sit on parents’ laps.

If Trump requisitioned Greyhound’s entire fleet of 1,200 buses, and each bus could make a round trip to Mexico in two days, then it would take just over a year to deport everyone. If that was considered too long, boxcars might be necessary, as in World War II Germany.

Another problem for Trump is children who were born here and are thus American citizens. Should they be separated from their parents? Roughly 23 percent of the U.S. population is under the age of 18, and if the same were true of undocumented immigrants, then around 3 million children would need to be placed in foster homes.

And what about property? Do homes, cars and other possessions go into some sort of escrow while the “good ones” are waiting to return? Would property be auctioned off by local governments? World War II again offers a precedent, when Japanese-Americans were forced to sell their property, usually at a loss, before leaving for the internment camps.

Taking 11 million workers out of the economy would also have an impact. Some unemployed citizens would quickly be hired, but many jobs would go begging. You don’t see a lot of talk-radio conservatives waiting tables and cleaning offices. The impact on the construction industry could be particularly severe as projects nationwide, including Trump’s, grind to a halt.

The deportations might not go smoothly, so presumably more police would be needed, along with jail facilities to hold people until the buses arrived. Riots and violence in big cities with large immigrant populations in California and Texas are not unimaginable.

It’s hard to see a plan to deport 11 million as practical, let alone ethical. Either Trump isn’t serious, or he is a politician with a truly frightening agenda.


Chris Jennewein is editor and publisher of Times of San Diego.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.