Immigration

Santorum Says Deporting Immigrants Is A ‘Blessing’ For Their Countries

CREDIT: AP Photo/John Raoux

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015.

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) considers deporting Latino undocumented immigrants to be a “blessing” to Latin America because skilled immigrants could “save” their native countries, the Des Moines Register reported.

During a town hall meeting in Gladbrook, IA this week, Santorum recounted a conversation he had with a school teacher who told him the majority of her students were immigrant children and asked what he would do with those families.

“My response is, ‘Great. Do you realize what a blessing they will be to their country when they go back?’” Santorum said, according to the publication. He explained that undocumented immigrants with American work skills could thrive back in Latin American countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

“You are talking about folks who are going to be the leaders of their countries,” Santorum added. “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.”

Santorum made a similar reference during a recent Republican undercard presidential debate. “We’re going to export America,” he said at the time. “Let’s send 6 million Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans … back into their country so they can start a renaissance in their country so they won’t be coming over here anymore.”

Given the frighteningly volatile conditions in Central American countries, Santorum’s suggestion would likely put those immigrants in danger. A Human Rights Watch report on deported Central Americans found that those who were sent back to their home countries “had fear so acute that they were living in hiding, afraid to go out in public.”

El Salvador, for instance, is on track to surpassing Honduras as the murder capital of the world — a statistic that the U.S. factored into its recent decision to pull out 55 Peace Corps volunteers who were stationed in the country.

Some immigrants deported back to their countries have died. Constantino Morales, an undocumented immigrant living in Iowa who had six children, was shot and killed in Mexico six months after he was deported last year. One Mexican victim of domestic violence was found dead in a burned-out car just five days after she was deported in 2013. And at least five Central American kids turned up at a morgue in San Pedro Sula, Honduras in 2014.