DONALD Trump won the majority of the 538 Electoral College votes, Hillary Clinton delivered a graceful, moving concession speech, even with a lead on the popular vote, which could be more than two million. President Obama is readying a transition team. The full dynamics of a democracy are at work in the United States, which is a young democracy compared with the old democracies of Europe but, by all metrics, the richest and most powerful democracy in the world.
The protests that have spread across key cities in the US will soon die down, even with the brave call that the protests would be for the long haul. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have called on the nation to support Mr. Trump. Those stunned denizens in the major cities and centers of innovation will soon boot on their idle computers and try to ride out the expected tumult of the Trump era. (I can feel it from far away. I have kin in Silicon Valley and she has not slept for days. She asked me–while I was deeply engrossed with real issues such as soaring yellow corn prices and the scarce supply of darak, orrice bran–if there exists in the native tongue a word for shell-shocked.)
What if the expected tumult does not materialize and what if Mr. Trump will govern just like any normal president? What if he does not wall off America? Good for the US. Good for the world. Good for us.
Otherwise, if Mr. Trump fulfills his central campaign promise, our country will have to face the deluge of returning undocumented immigrants. Mr. Trump made this campaign promise to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants–music to rural, white America–which was the key to his victory. If he does that, our clueless country will be confronted with this deluge that is totally unexpected. Remember that a substantial part of that 11 million figure is Asian–and Filipino. I don’t have a next of kin who is undocumented. But many in the barrio where I farm have brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles who work as undocumented caregivers in the morefriendly blue states.
Even the Pulitzer-winning Fil-Am journalist Jose Antonio Vargas is undocumented.
What is scary is this. Presidential candidates, after a victory, mostly live up to their core campaign promises. Mr. Trump built his campaign on “Build That Wall” and other radically anti-immigration pronouncements, such as deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants. His campaign was cheered on and massively supported by white supremacists, now called the alt-right movement. What if the alt-right leaders were to collect their IOUs and push Mr. Trump into fulfilling his central campaign promise?
All hell will break loose, for sure. Some blue states may erect the legal and institutional barriers to stave off a mass deportation. But the nativist underpinnings of the 2016 election will make it easy for the Trump administration to take action against undocumented immigrants in deep red states with Republican governors.
Governor Cuomo of New York and California’s Governor Brown can prevent such mass deportations. Or delay them. But in the deep red states and swing states with Republican governors and legislatures, mass deportation, once ordered by Mr. Trump, will be easy to carry out.
So, are we ready for the deluge?
The best-case scenario for us is a rising Middle East job market. With that as backdrop for the mass return of undocumented Filipinos from the US, that would be Fallback A. The returning caregivers can become domestic helpers in the palaces of the royalty and the rich. That is not like working in the US of A but beggars can’t be choosers.
The English language skills of the returnees will enable them to smoothly transition into jobs at the BPOs. Our BPO sector is basically of the voice segment and language skills is the primary asset here for job applicants. But there is a problem with this Fallback B. What if Mr. Trump reins in the offshoring of BPO jobs to countries such as the PH and India? That was part of his campaign promise, remember?
Fallback C is remunerative jobs back home. Realistically, however, those jobs do not exist. Of course, the DOLE under Mr. Aquino said that these types of jobs existed. But we all know that statement was fiction. Listed as a “bright spot” was the sugar sector, which was supposed to need tens of thousands of workers.
You know what? The sugar industry, indeed, needs workers. But these are mostly back-breaking worksuch as cane-cutting, which is close to a sub-human job.
We are not prepared for that kind of ugly exodus. There are no ready jobs for the returning undocumented immigrants. The strain on basic services such as health, housing and transport would be extraordinarily strenuous.
Right now, collectively, we can do nothing but pray.
Pray for Mr. Trump’s change of heart and change of policy.