This is one of the classic strawman arguments. Supposedly, those who want to enforce our immigration laws want to immediately deport all illegal aliens.
In addition to simply attempting to miscast their opponents' position, many use this argument in order to evoke images of poor, huddled masses being herded into cattlecars.
In fact, very few people support such a draconian scheme. Most realize the difficulties inherent in a mass deportation, and they instead support simply enforcing our laws not just at the border but in the interior and at workplaces. Combined with reducing or eliminating non-emergency benefits to illegal aliens, this will greatly reduce future illegal immigration and will cause many of those here now to deport themselves.
However, this canard also reveals a very disturbing truth: we've not only lost control of our borders, but of the interior of our country as well. Every country has a right to expel people who've entered that country illegally. If a country is (almost) physically incapable of expelling those people, then it has in effect been occupied and settled by an invading force.
If for some reason - such as a war or economic downturn - we needed to expel all or even just a few million of our illegal aliens, do we have the forces to do that? Would those illegal aliens - citizens of another country who have no allegiance to this country - resist the deportation? Illegal aliens make up a large percentage of the populations of several major cities, and there are pockets in hundreds of rural areas throughout the U.S. Would some of them hold towns or sections of major cities hostage? How many lives would be lost and how many billions of dollars of property would be lost? And, would Mexico and other countries - as well as our homegrown Fifth Columnists - agitate those illegal aliens?
While non-serious commentators tend to mock such questions, the fact remains that there have been immigrant riots in the U.S. in the past, and there have been many similar situations in other countries throughout history.
The fact remains that it would be extremely difficult to deport even a few million illegal aliens by force if it were necessary to do so, and that should be extremely worrisome to anyone who's concerned with our security.
The nation's border czar yesterday said it is "not realistic" to think that law-enforcement authorities can arrest or deport the millions of illegal aliens now in the United States and does not think the American public has the "will ... to uproot" those aliens... Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson also said taxpayers "might be afraid" to learn how much it would take in manpower and resources to control the nation's borders and described as "probably accurate" a statement that no law-enforcement officials are looking for the vast majority of the 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens thought to be in the country... "It's not realistic to say we're going to reduce that number," Mr. Hutchinson said...
[The study] provides the first-ever estimate of the costs of a policy designed to deport all undocumented persons currently in the United States and those who successfully crossed the border (approximately 10 million people). Using publicly available data, we estimate the costs of a mass deportation effort to be at least $206 billion over five years ($41.2 billion annually), and could be as high as $230 billion or more.
Legislation sponsored by Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz., would permit illegal immigrants to obtain work visas for up to six years. Chamber President Thomas Donohue said that would be a step in the right direction... "The alternative approach -- rounding up and deporting the 10 to 11 million illegal aliens already working here -- is ridiculous on its face," he said... "There is no perfect solution, but providing a pathway to legal status under certain conditions, bringing these workers out of the shadows, is the best way to go."