Trump knows what he’s doing

For months, Donald Trump has been defending his plan to deport illegal immigrants by following the lead of former President Dwight Eisenhower, who took action to oust 1.5 million undocumented aliens in 1953. It was a calculated determination by Trump to invoke the name of America’s favorite general because, after all, who doesn’t like Ike and his mild-mannered but forceful approach?

But what Trump didn’t do was chronicle the details of what turns out to be one of the most inhumane deportation operations in U.S. history, one whose name is repugnant to most civilized people: Operation Wetback.

Few challenged Trump’s repeated embrace of the Eisenhower program or bothered to give it much more than a cursory look until this last debate. As knowledge of the brutality of the effort has begun to spread, Trump – who’s promised to create a “deportation force” to handle his plan — continues to defend it as a template for how to rid the country of unwanted immigrants.

“I’ve heard it both ways, I’ve heard good reports, I’ve heard bad reports,” Trump told Fox’s Bill O’Reillywho actually called Trump out on the comparison and his plan to deport 11 million undocumented aliens. “We would do it in a very humane way.”

It would be hard to replicate the inhumanity of what the Eisenhower administration did. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans had come into the United States as agricultural workers and other laborers during World War II and stayed even after those jobs went back to returning soldiers. Over the years, many more joined them, crossing the Rio Grande to get to this country, hence the name “wetback,” which dates back to the 1920s. But it wasn’t a compliment.

Eisenhower, under pressure then as Republicans are now, ordered the forced round-up and deportation of 1.5 million Mexicans, including some who were citizens and had been here for decades, and brought back to Mexico, many dumped in the desert without food or water. Many, including women and children, had their heads shaved so they would be recognizable at the border if they tried to regain entry. At least 88 died. It was not one of Ike’s most memorable moments.

Trump did not rise to the top of the Republican presidential heap because he’s a dummy and, while some may see him as a clown or buffoon, no one ever questioned his intelligence. And clearly, Trump is smart enough to know his embrace of Eisenhower’s programs – and its pejorative name, even if he doesn’t speak it – resonates with a hard-core base who care little about the niceties of process and simply want the unwanted gone, regardless of how.

Case in point is two brothers from South Boston were charged with a hate crime last week after they allegedly beat a homeless Hispanic man in August at the UMass/JFK station and later told police they did it because they were inspired by Trump’s call to rid the country of illegal immigrants. Trump’s tepid response to that brutal beating (“I will say that people who are following me are very passionate,” he said when told of the assault) is similar to his dismissal of criticism over Eisenhower’s repatriation program.

Other rising presidential contenders see how Trump is resonating with the anti-immigrant crowd and are moving in that direction as well. Sen. Ted Cruz, whose father came from Cuba via Canada, is all-in on sending everyone home and making them start the process all over again. Sen. Marco Rubio, a first-generation Cuban-American, has now gone silent on immigration reform after leading a bill in the Senate that would have created a pathway to citizenship in exchange for tighter border controls.

It’s hard to say how this hard-right stance will work out for Trump if he reaches the general election but one thing is clear: He’s riding the backs of undocumented aliens to the bitter end, come hell or high water.

JACK SULLIVAN

 

BEACON HILL

The Globe‘s Frank Phillips says allies of Senate President Stan Rosenberg, an advocate for reining in student fee increases at the University of Massachusetts, claim he came out ahead in the recent budgeting conflict with UMass president Marty Meehan.  

Gov. Charlie Baker unveils a home loan program for veterans. (Associated Press)
A Boston Herald editorial seconds a recent Mass Taxpayers Foundation report calling on the state to beef up the rainy day fund intended to cover budget shortfalls during a recession.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

US Rep. Seth Moulton organizes an event in Marblehead where veterans can speak out about their experiences. About 300 people turned out for the Veterans Day event. (The Item)

CASINOS/GAMBLING

FanDuel and DraftKings are bucking an order from New York’s attorney general to stop accepting bets from Empire State residents. (Boston Globe) Former Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley, now a hired gun for DraftKings, urges lawmakers here not to jump to “over-regulate” the sports fantasy sites. (Boston Herald)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson is alarmed at the growing intolerance of left-wing activism, including the Black Lives Matter members who protested in Worcester.

ELECTIONS

A New York Times/CBS nationwide poll shows Hillary Clinton maintaining a significant lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, 52 percent to 32 percent, among likely Democratic primary voters.

Latinos across the state, and particularly in Chelsea, score big in municipal elections. (WBUR) Meanwhile, shifts in the black, Latino, Asian and progressive-leaning white vote are changing the face of Boston elections. (Bay State Banner)

Gerry Cassidy, a former aide to the late senator Thomas Kennedy, has announced he will run in the as-yet scheduled special election for the state representative seat opened up when Michael Brady won the contest for Kennedy’s seat. (The Enterprise)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Federal officials say they have drained the $18.4 million budget to pay for monitors on fishing vessels and the fishermen themselves will now have to pay the money for the mandated observers on board to keep an eye on catch limits, a heavy price for the already overburdened industry. (Patriot Ledger)

Dianne Wilkerson reports that Roxbury and its residents are getting shortchanged as community development corporations build projects in the community but tap no residents to do the work. (digboston)

Fidelity is marking down the value of its investments in many privately held startups, including Snapchat. (Fortune)

EDUCATION

Secretary of Education Jim Peyser said he and Gov. Charlie Baker prefer a standardized test that allows Massachusetts to control its own destiny. (WGBH)

Dante Ramos says student movements at Yale and the University of Missouri have become unhinged by activists who don’t quite see that they are winning. (Boston Globe)

Wayland pulls out of the Minuteman Regional School District since the number of students attending the school has sharply declined. The decision also gets the town off the hook for paying its share for a new school building. (MetroWest Daily News)

MassLive takes a look at how Western Massachusetts schools did on PARCC.

The high school dropout rate nationally has fallen dramatically in the past four years. (U.S. News & World Report)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The newest soldier in the battle against opioid addiction: health insurance companies, which are limiting the length of opiate prescriptions they’ll cover and making addiction treatment easier to get. (Boston Globe)

Cambridge-based Biogen is continuing to focus its efforts on Alzheimer’s treatments, an area that could provide an enormous payoff but one in which it could take years for any drugs to reach market. (Boston Globe)

Federal officials today are scheduled to announce a ban on smoking at all public housing around the country. (New York Times)

TRANSPORTATION

Governing runs the numbers on Oregon’s pilot project to tax drivers on the miles they drive rather than the gallons of gas they consume.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton says conservation and hunting are not at odds. A hunter himself, Beaton defends the upcoming deer hunt in the Blue Hills of Milton. (The Sun)

The MetroWest Daily News wants to see solar power get competitive.

Al Gore, longtime doomsday prognosticator on climate change, thinks things are looking up. (Associated Press)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Two Boston cops defuse a tense situation in which a troubled veteran, especially despondent on Veterans Day, was holding a hatchet to his own throat on a MBTA bus. (Boston Herald)

Law enforcement officials are warning people to beware after six incidents in Mattapan and Roxbury in the last five weeks in which users of Internet dating sites were lured to a location to meet a prospective date and then robbed at gunpoint. (Boston Herald)

Former TV sportscaster Bob Lobel, who is disabled from spinal stenosis, has filed a federal lawsuit against Woodland Golf Club in Newton, alleging that the club’s ban on his use of a golf cart on its putting greens violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Boston Globe)

A report on the Dracut Police Department finds gross mismanagement and an atmosphere of fear. (The Sun)

A community fundraiser in Westport was charged with larceny when he allegedly scanned in checks for deposits then changed the dates and scanned them in again. (Standard-Times)

A Somerville cop is given a commendation for sending flowers to a woman who was crying when she got pulled over for speeding. The woman had just discovered her mother was going into hospice care. (Associated Press)

MEDIA

Boston Globe owner John Henry’s new life sciences vertical, STAT, stokes fears of further cuts among the newspaper’s staff (Boston Business Journal)

The Boston Business Journal gets a new president.