Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump AFP

Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged to undertake "the largest domestic deportation operation in American history" if re-elected. This promise has become a cornerstone of his agenda for a second term and has been met with enthusiasm by his supporters, even in places with largely immigrant populations. One of those places is Florida.

However, experts, activists, and immigrants, both documented and undocumented, have voiced concerns with The Miami Herald about the potential economic repercussions of such an operation would have.

They argue that removing a significant portion of the labor force would have far-reaching consequences, particularly in Miami-Dade County. The Department of Homeland Security estimated that approximately 590,000 undocumented immigrants lived in Florida in 2022, while the Pew Research Center suggested the number could be closer to 900,000.

Tarek Hassan, an economics professor at Boston University, told the outlet that deporting half a million people from Florida could trigger a recession in the state. He noted that such a campaign would be logistically challenging, constrained by federal laws and the need for countries of origin to accept deportees.

Donald Trump's plan could also exacerbate the labor gap in Florida, where there are 53 available workers for every 100 open positions, according to figures from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This shortfall would impact critical sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and construction, leading to increased costs and slower project completions.

An analysis by Miami-Dade County's Office of New Americans found that immigrants constitute over half of the county's working population and dominate essential industries like manufacturing, agriculture, food production, and construction. They are also 27.8% more likely to be of working age or employed compared to their U.S.-born counterparts.

Despite these concerns, Trump remains committed to his immigration enforcement agenda, as confirmed by Karoline Leavitt, the Trump campaign's national press secretary. In a recent interview with Time Magazine, Trump discussed relying on local law enforcement, the National Guard, and potentially active-duty military to execute his plan. He did not rule out the use of detention camps.

The Department of Homeland Security estimated that there were around 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. as of January 2022, with nearly 80% having resided in the country since before 2010.

Amidst an immigration surge, with over 2 million encounters at the southern border in recent fiscal years, Trump's policies appear to resonate with voters despite the warnings. A CBS/YouGov poll indicated that a majority of Florida voters believe Trump's policies would improve their financial situation.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.