The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls (202) 261-2388

What They're Saying: Range of Observers Tear Apart Romney's "Self-Deportation" Policy

Editorial Boards, Pundits and Personal Testimonials Highlight How Romney’s Approach is Unworkable, Unrealistic and Inhumane


Ever since Mitt Romney issued his support for "self-deportation," a policy also known as "attrition through enforcement," voices from around the country have responded by highlighting just how unworkable and extreme a policy like this would be. Among the reactions: Rachel Maddow points out that while Romney's policy seems like a joke, it just isn't funny, national editorial boards underscore the policy's impracticality, and a New York Timesop-ed by an American high school student highlights the painful toll "self-deportation" can have on immigrant families.

  • Rachel Maddow last night referenced how the term, "self-deportation," originally started as a joke, but has now taken off as a serious immigration policy for the GOP. "This is beyond not getting the joke. Something is out of whack in Republican politics around this issue...Republican politics on immigration right now are so strange it's getting impossible to tell whether or not they are satire."
  • A Los Angeles Times editorial argued that Romney's call for self-deportation "ignores the fact that the economic downturn has already made jobs scarce, yet few illegal workers have left. Or that undocumented immigrants, who make up nearly 5% of the workforce and more than half of all U.S. agricultural workers, are already subject to harsh working conditions and low wages. Furthermore, despite his claims to the contrary, the increased use of ID cards and the E-Verify system will not prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants, but will only drive them further into an underground economy... In the coming months, the GOP front-runners can't expect voters, especially Latinos, to settle for fictional solutions."
  • The Washington Post editorial board also weighed in, in an piece titled "The 'self-deportation' fantasy," calling Romney's policy "snappy and sound-biteble...The idea's inanity is masked by its allure for some who hate illegal immigration but concede that mass roundups and deportations would be unseemly and prohibitively expensive. Better, they say, that illegal immigrants leave under their own steam -- and pay their travel expenses, too... The problem is a broken system and politicians who cannot bring themselves to reconcile the hard reality of illegal immigration with their own slogans. Sensible reform would include tight enforcement as well as adequate admissions of guest workers for industries that need them and, critically, a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. They're not leaving, notwithstanding the fantasy of 'self-deportation.'"
  • Antonio Alarcon, an American high school student who knows first-hand the pain of living in a divided family, shared his story in a New York Timesop-ed today. "The United States is supposed to be a great country that welcomes all kinds of people. Does Mr. Romney really think that this should be America's solution for immigration reform?" Living the reality of what the GOP is touting, Antonio said, " I don't think this is something that our presidential candidates should encourage or be proud of."

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.