President Barack Obama has deported more undocumented immigrants than any US president in history, an American author and radio host says. Stephen Lendman made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Thursday while commenting on a speech by Donald Trump in which he vowed to show “no amnesty” for undocumented workers living in the country and promised to build an “impenetrable” wall on the US-Mexican border if elected president.
Trump repeated his harsh immigration rhetoric on Wednesday during a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, hours after a meeting in Mexico City with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who said his country will not pay for a border wall. In addition to building the wall with Mexican funding, he said he would add 5,000 border patrol officers.
Trump pledged to create “a special deportation task force” within the existing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency if he becomes president. “There were hints ahead of that he might be softening his position. He has been a very hardliner on immigration into America, making very, very disparaging comments about undocumented workers in America,” Lendman said.
“The number is really unknown. The number that floats around is 11 million, but it could be half of that money or double of it. Nobody knows. So they float information around without any knowledge of what they are talking about,” he stated. Approximately 11.3 million undocumented immigrants were living in the US in 2014 and undocumented immigrants from Mexico made up the largest share of this population, according to government data.
Lendman said “the real issue is how immigrants are treated in America… The reality in America is that whether Trump or anybody else is president, immigrants live day to day never knowing when the hammer may come down against them.”
“Obama during his tenure earned the dubious reputation of being called ‘deporter-in-chief’. He deported more immigrants to the home countries than any other previous president,” he said. “And if I am not mistaken I think it was more – maybe to a year ago or so – than all others combined, at least in modern times,” he noted.
A poll released last week by the Pew Research Center found that the majority of Americans are opposed to Trump’s immigration proposals. The poll found that 61 percent of those surveyed rejected one of Trump’s signature policies: building a wall along the US-Mexico border.
Trump’s characterizations of undocumented immigrants were also decisively rejected in the poll. Trump’s campaign has been marked by controversy from the beginning, including disparaging remarks about women, Mexican immigrants and Muslims.