Are we prepared for the deluge of returning undocumented immigrants?

Marlen V. Ronquillo

Marlen V. Ronquillo

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.


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  1. Yonkers, New York
    17 Nov. 2016

    Donald Trump will very likely go ahead and TRY to make good on his vow to deport all 11 million “undocumented” immigrants now in the United States–and that could include several million Filipinos.

    But Trump must realize that it will take a lot of time, effort and financial resources to deport 11 million–and, so, lately he says that after he takes oath of office as President, he will initially deport 3 million of them who are ‘CRIMINALS.”

    One has to wonder how Trump or his Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security could ever identify who among the 11 million are “CRIMINALS” without first going through the legal motions of determining who among them have actually committed what crimes, and then after such identification, arresting them, then charging them before courts of law, and giving them the chance to defend themselves by themselves or by counsel, and after due trial by a jury of their peers, being found “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” or being found innocent and set free.

    Unless Trump and his administration should feel free to convert the United States from a “democracy” to a tyranny, which seems out of the question, it may take Trump all of 4 years to deport his initial 3 million CRIMINALS.


  2. Overstaying and those working without working permits, are illegal in US, they are the target of the immigration agents. And possible hate crimes.


    Our compatriots in the US who are on so called TNT status must be practical .
    They should start the process now to legalize their status.
    They should hire services of top notch immigration lawyers in the US.
    Otherwise , they better pack up and take the first plane out.
    Its the law, with or without Trump’ ,,
    Meanwhile our Embassy and Consulates should brace up for the deluge of Filipinos who will seek sanctuary thereat., than in crowded jails mixed with International illegals awaiting deportation.

  4. It will not happen……something great will happen….IT’s INCREDIBLY YUGE! Believe me I got big hands and fantastic brain. God works in a very mysterious way.

  5. I doubt that Trump will deport all the illegals. The way I understand in his speech, he is going to deport the illegals that have criminal records. The crime and violence of these illegals are very alarming. I do not think he will just kick out those that are hardworking.

  6. rural white class of the U.S has lost out to immigrants legal or illegal, they have only themselves to blame, they did not take oppurtunities open for them such as education, the U.S has one of the best public school system in the planet, they copped out, who bests math and science in their schools, mostly Asians, Americans are more engrossed with the Kardashians and now they blame immigrants for stealing jobs? How pathetic,

  7. Trump is consistent in deporting illegal aliens out of US. He is not like Duterte that consistently flip flops depending on his audience. Trumps main objective is to make America great again. Voters elected him because they think Trump will create more jobs. 11 million illegals will be deported. That means 11 million jobs vacated by these illegals. That alone will bring their unemployment down to 1 percent. BPO from RP will be going back to US. That is about 1.5 million jobs. Manufacturing jobs in China will be close because Trump will impose 45 percent tax on imports. These 3 items alone will solve unemployment problem of US but will create havoc to RP , China and the rest of the world. Now , who is the BOSS. Drive them out of RP. Massive poverty and crime coming.

    • to the max, how you suppose trump will compensate the bpo operators he would require to close their bpo operations here and set it up in the great us of a for the loses they would suffer?? remember the cost of labor here in the phil and india are considerably less than that of the us of A.

    • @ TO THE MAX,

      Most Americans and long-tine legal immigrants will not necessarily take the jobs that may be vacated by undocumented immigrants should they be deported from the U.S. Relatively few Americans are willing to work as bus boys, dishwashers or caregivers.