Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) insisted on Saturday night that as president she would see to it that every undocumented immigrant in the country be deported.
Speaking at a Fox News forum hosted by Mike Huckabee, the Minnesota Republican was fairly broad in describing how she would round up and ship out of the country the 10 to 12 million people living here without documentation. But the implication was that she would empower government agents to do the deed.
"[I]t would be enforcement: Enforcement both at the border but also by the [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents. Right now the ICE agents -- those are the agents in the interior of the country who are tasked with enforcing the law -- they are not enforcing them and we also have sanctuary cities now where they don't enforce the laws on deportation. I think that what we simply need to do is to start enforcing the laws which we are not doing and begin the process of deportation," she said.
Prior to explaining how she would execute her deportation policy, Bachmann argued that undocumented citizens cost the country $113 billion every year. Asked by The Huffington Post where the congresswoman got her statistics, a Bachmann spokesperson pointed to a press release from the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
In coming out for 100 percent deportation, Bachmann is deliberately contrasting herself with Newt Gingrich, who argued that it would be impractical if not inhumane to rip families and communities apart. A recent Pew study showed that roughly two-thirds of all the undocumented immigrants in the United States have been in the country for 10 or more years.
"I agree, this is the thorniest and most difficult issue in dealing with illegal immigration," conceded Bachmann. "What about deportation? I believe we should uphold the laws of the land, which does include deportation. How do we pay for it? The American taxpayer."