This week’s question: Donald Trump said he would soften his position on immigration, but he still argues that undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will have to return to their home countries and apply for legal status. How do you think the deportation of roughly 11 million people would affect the economy? Do you think it’s a necessary move?
It is my opinion that Mr. Trump will not follow through on this issue. While I understand the message he is trying to convey, it is rhetoric. Simply stated, it is logistically impossible to deport 3 percent of the population in a country of this size.
Alejandro Badia, orthopedic surgeon and founder, OrthoNOW
Deporting 11 million people seems like a daunting and unrealistic task. Hopefully our country can find a path to legal status for many of these immigrants who are valuable contributors to our society without uprooting them from their homes, lives and families. For many of these people, in particular young people, life in the United States is all they have ever known and this is their home.
Peggy Benua, general manager, Dream South Beach
The United States was built on immigrants (my family is Scotch-Irish). Immigrants are hard working and seek a better future and sacrifice much to come here. That said, I believe there are better solutions to shipping 11 million hard working immigrants home; one being policy changes to expedite citizenship.
Meg Daly, president and CEO, Friends of The Underline
Mr. Trump did not soften his position on immigration reform. However, he did lay out a suite of policies that, if implemented, I believe can fix the immigration problem. Deportation is sexy, and gets a lot of reaction. But Mr. Trump finally recognizes that, before you start putting people out, you must fix how they got in. Nobody knows how deportation of 11 million people, in a systematic, systematized way, will affect the economy. At worse, since we are currently, legally importing 1 million immigrants a year, and Mrs. Clinton said she would like to raise that number to 2 million, all things being equal, it could end up being a wash.
T. Willard Fair, president and CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami
Everything I’ve read, along with my own life experience, compels me to advocate for the immediate “path to citizenship” and “legal status” for all undocumented immigrants. If my own relatives were asked to “return to their home countries” after they arrived here in the 1920’s and 1930’s, they never would have made it back, and I wouldn’t be answering this question for you now. I’m sure my experience is not very different from most of the readers of this newspaper.
Mitch Kaplan, founder, Books & Books
Immigration is an incredibly complex issue which Donald Trump has over-simplified. From the moment he said it, most rational Americans believed that his “build a wall” mantra and pledge to deport 11 million people was political grandstanding. However, it is undeniable that many voters want us to have secure borders and tougher policies – and this is why many have flocked to Trump. And even if you agreed with Trump’s desire to deport many hard-working people who are raising families here, the logistics of deporting 11 million people is untenable. “Rounding up” and figuring out how to transport them would be a massive and expensive undertaking. How many buses do you need to move 11 million people, anyway? They certainly won’t fit on Trump’s plane. My hope is that whoever is elected, brings in the best possible minds to help solve the immigration challenge. We need to develop an appropriate path to citizenship while still keeping our borders safe and secure.
Mario Murgado, president and CEO, Brickell Motors
The United States in a nation founded and built by immigrants. As a proud Italian American and entrepreneur, I respect the immigrant journey and the opportunity that is presented to anyone willing to work hard, earn, save, and grow. However, the opportunity and stability offered in the U.S. is at risk of being undermined by both politicians and individuals who seek to take advantage. Neither deportation nor open borders is the answer to this complex situation; the loss of millions of residents — many of them laborers — would have an adverse affect on the economy and our dollar, damaging many industries that are so vital to national stability. This being said, it is imperative that we amend and implement legislation that is fair—fair to those who want to make a life in our great country, and fair to the legal and contributing citizens of our great country.
Steve Perricone, president and owner, Perricone’s Restaurant
I find it sad and hurtful that anyone with an enormous global platform would so relentlessly make people in such a vulnerable situation uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how those 11 million people feel facing this kind of abusive and ongoing threat. The discomfort that he is irrationally willing to impose on people weaker then him for political gain is disquieting. Of course, as is the case with many of his ideas and commentary, it also makes no sense. Hopefully, this last issue that recently surfaced will put this fiasco of Trump for President to an end.
Craig Robins, president and CEO, Dacra
Research shows that the vast majority of Americans do not believe mass deportation is the correct solution, and the cost of such an effort would likely be impractical. However, it’s clear that government leaders on both sides of the aisle believe that something must be done to improve our immigration system, from addressing the issue of undocumented immigrants to providing a more streamlined system for legal immigrants to enter our country.
Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light