Santorum: Mass Deportations Would Be A ‘Blessing’ For Central America

AP

Rick Santorum told the audience at a Tuesday campaign event that deporting millions of undocumented immigrants back to Central America would be a “blessing” to their home countries, The Des Moines Register reported.

“Do you realize what a blessing they will be to their country when they go back?” the Republican presidential candidate said. Santorum was recounting a conversation with a teacher who worked at a mostly-minority Iowa school and was concerned about the deportation of her students, according to the Register.

Santorum suggested that the English-language skills and education that young immigrants have acquired in the United States will serve them well when they return to countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—nations he described collectively as a “mess.”

“You are talking about folks who are going to be the leaders of their countries,” Santorum said. “I think that the best thing that we can do to stem the tide of illegal immigration is to have them go home and save their countries.”

By the newspaper’s count, there were only 10 supporters at Santorum’s Glendale, Iowa event.

The former Pennsylvania senator made a similar claim during Thursday’s undercard Republican debate in South Carolina, framing his call to “send people back” as a “gift” to the immigrants themselves.

Noting that at least six million people should be deported, Santorum said: “I will give them a gift, being able to help the country they were born in. I will export America, the education they were able to see. They learned the English language. They learned about capitalism. They learned about democracy.”

Santorum’s vision of mass deportations did not touch on the root causes of immigration from Central America to the U.S. According to the Migration Policy Institute, an independent Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the primary drivers are “economic hardship and political instability in the region.”

h/t Huffington Post

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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