A history professor reminds us about America’s previous attempt at mass deportation in the 1830s. The First Time America Tried Mass Deportation It Was a Disaster Why would we consider trying it again?
American cities and counties in the Southwest and Midwest tried to expel Mexican-Americans once before in the 1930s, with traumatic results for the families affected. But perhaps an even more illuminating comparison is with the mass deportation that the United States sponsored a hundred years earlier, in the 1830s.
In that decade, the federal government uprooted some 80,000 Native Americans from their homes and forced them west of the Mississippi, into what is now Oklahoma. It was a humanitarian disaster and remains one of the most shameful episodes in the country’s history. Though few if any Americans are proud of the Trail of Tears, as the Cherokees call their harrowing expulsion from the Southeast and deadly journey westward, politicians are now seriously proposing a similar policy toward undocumented immigrants. “I think it’s worth discussing,” stated Ben Carson, Trump’s closest rival for the Republican presidential nomination…
The similarities and differences could be debated at length, but undocumented immigrants undeniably face the same threat as Indians in the early 19th century: state-administered deportation. In the 1830s, the United States oversaw the forced emigration of about 0.6 percent of the population within its borders. As a proportion of the current U.S. population, Donald Trump proposes to deport six times as many individuals.
The most people the US government has ever deported in a year was about a quarter million. We have this feature to our Constitution which is called due process that Trump seems to be unfamiliar with. The prospect of deportation on a scale he envisions would, to use a phrase from the story, again “stamp our national character with indelible infamy.”