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Be afraid, be very afraid: The Trump immigration rhetoric is about to become reality

Felicia Persaud | 1/12/2017, 9:39 a.m.

In a matter of days, the administration of El Trumpeto will become the dreaded reality for many Americans. That trepidation is particularly heightened for immigrants—especially those Black and Brown immigrants—who were forced to endure the draconian campaign rhetoric on immigration by The Donald.

Some in the postelection days of the New York-born Republican candidate’s win have chosen to take a glimmer of hope from comments he made on immigration in two interviews. One was his first sit-down interview after the shocking November win with “60 Minutes” and the other was his interview with Time magazine after he was named Person of the Year.

In his “60 Minutes” interview, Trump deftly backtracked from his campaign promise to deport them all and watered it down slightly to deporting criminal immigrants. In the Time magazine interview, he seemed to express sympathy for the many young immigrants, aka Dreamers, who President Obama temporarily helped by allowing them to obtain work permits and travel documents.

“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Time quoted Trump as saying. “They got brought here at a very young age. They’ve worked here. They’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

This statement was, of course, contrary to his campaign promise that he would undo Obama’s executive order that allowed children brought into the country by undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. and let them work or attend school.

But Reuters’ news service this past week busted the Trump con game wide-open and may have extinguished that small glimmer of hope for many and replaced it with the dark, cold reality of fear and what’s truly to come after Jan. 20.

The news service, citing a Dec. 5, 2016, meeting between Department of Homeland Security officials and the Trump transition team and a DHS internal memo documenting the meeting, showed that Trump has already asked for copies of every single executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama’s first term in 2009. That of course includes DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order.

The Trump team has also asked for clarification on whether federal workers have previously altered biographic information about immigrants in their internal records because they were concerned that the immigrants’ civil liberties would be threatened.

The article shows that despite some analysts’ claims that Trump may have gone soft on his border wall plan, the memo clearly showed that the Trump transition team is still focused on satisfying the promise of a “big beautiful wall.”

In the meeting, according to Reuters, the Trump camp determined there are nearly 400 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border where new fencing could be put in, and about the same distance along the U.S.-Canadian border, even though Trump has not publicly stated that he has any plans to build a wall along the Canadian border.

The internal report estimated the construction on the southern border would cost nearly $11.37 billion and would keep out pedestrians as well as vehicles. Who will pay the cost is still being debated, but don’t believe for one minute that Trump is backing off his wall plan—the centerpiece of his despicable campaign.

Then there is the request for information on the aerial border surveillance program, Operation Phalanx, which was authorized by President George W. Bush and deployed 6,000 National Guard airmen to monitor the Mexico border for drug trafficking and illegal immigration. Obama downsized the program and only authorized the operation to deploy 1,200 airmen, but Trump clearly is looking at boosting this program again as part of his plan to keep out the “bad hombres,” as he has said in his campaign.

So what will all this mean for immigrants? A police state with more private prisons, more detentions, more deportations and palpable fear. Be afraid, be very afraid!

The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc.