Self Deportation As Farce; Tougher Immigration Laws Push Undocumented Further Underground

02/02/2012 05:14 pm ET
  • Salon.com

Chalk it up as one of the unexpected consequences of the intense media attention devoted to the Republican presidential nomination race. When Mitt Romney announced his support for the concept of “self-deportation” during a Florida debate last week, reporters instantly shone a bright spotlight on a strategy for removing illegal immigrants from the United States that had hitherto been mostly flying under the radar.

The word "self-deportation" has an agreeable, voluntary ring to it, suggesting that undocumented workers will happily decide of their own free will to return to their home countries, without the necessity for direct government action by ICE agents. The truth is something different: Self-deportation, as practiced today, is supposed to be the only choice left available to immigrants whose life has been made miserable by new, punitive laws put into place at the state level.

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