The upcoming presidential elections, combined with some alternative history literature—The Man With the Iron Heart by Harry Turtledove—inspired a vivid dream I chose to record for future reference.
- Election Aftermath
- The First Internment Camps
It was official, the republican party had won the 2016 presidential election. Ronald Crump, the popular self-made billionaire and often controversial candidate, sat in the oval office. He’d made a campaign promise he was intent on keeping: the deportation of 2,000,000 illegal aliens with criminal records. In reality, the actual figure was closer to 800,000. Crump’s advisors said the inaccurate figure of two million would have more of an impact on his followers.
“Barney, I need to to get this thing cleared up as soon as possible,” Crump turned to a man standing next to him. Barney Andrews stepped forward. He was Crump’s most trusted aide. He’d been at his side since the beginning of the campaign. When he spoke Crump listened.
“What you have is a list of names. We must work with national and local law enforcement to track down the offenders,” Andrews said.
Crump nodded. Everything had led up to this moment. He was the head of the most powerful country in the world. He was going to make good on his campaign promise of restoring the United States to what he called it’s former greatness. Getting rid of some criminals who weren’t supposed to be in this country seemed like a good place to start.
“Barney, make the arrangements to deport these people.”
The First Internment Camps
Barney Andrews assigned the task of tracking down the names on the deportation list to a group of junior aides. Five days later the research was concluded: of the 800,000 names on the list, only 450,000 had been convicted of felonies and were in prison. The remainder were on probation, on parole, or awaiting trial or sentencing.
Barney Andrews told Ronal Crump the news. Crump’s face flushed under his artificial tan.
“This falls short of what I told my supporters.” Crump tapped the desk. “I promised the deportation of two million. This is a drop in the bucket.”
“We can spin this,” Andrews insisted, “it’s still early enough to blame it on the previous administration,” he added.
“Maybe, but we’ve got to make a move on this,” Crump nodded. “If anything we take fast action on the scumbags we have in custody, right?”
“We can do that,” Andrews reassured Crump.
“Good,” Crump said.
“What do you suggest we do with all the illegals waiting for deportation?” Andrews asked.
Crump hesitated. He shifted his weight in the chair. He said, “I think I’ve got it: use the illegals waiting for deportation as unskilled labor on the border wall in Texas.”
Barney Andrews was speechless. What Crump suggested amounted to slave labor. “Are you sure about that, sir?”
“I’m the president!” Crump shouted. “I can do what I want.”
Emilio Rodriguez had been convicted of armed robbery two years ago. He’d been identified in a police line up in Chicago. He’d been driving a cab at night and working in a bakery during the day. Most of the money he’d made went to support his family in Mexico. The money Emilio kept for himself paid for rent, food, and books. He’d planned to return to Mexico and apply for citizenship.
Emilio was assigned a public defender. The court appointed attorney insisted Emilio plead guilty. Emilio decided to plead innocent. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.
On the last day of March, during the third year if his sentence, Emilio was called into the warden’s office. Warden Jasper, a lean man with a long narrow face, sat behind a desk.
“Emilio Rodriguez,” Warden Jasper said. He stared at Emilio with beady eyes. “You were convicted of armed robbery. You have a perfect prison record; but, when you came up for your parole hearing you maintained your innocence.”
“I didn’t commit the crime then,” Emilio said. “Things haven’t changed in three years.”
“I don’t suppose so,” the warden agreed. “Something else has changed—the political environment. The new administration chomping at the bit to bring about what steps to get this country back on its feet.”
“What does that have to do with me?” Emilio asked.
“You’re part of a release program. You’re going to be deported back to Mexico on one condition …” Jasper hesitated.
“And that condition is?”
“You must serve out the remaining two years of your sentence as part of a labor force building the wall on the Texas-Mexico border.”
Two months later Emilio Rodriguez stepped off the two-decker prisoner transport bus. National guardsman, armed with automatic rifles, led the prisoners through the main gate. Emilio was assigned a number and given an ID card. He would have to carry the card at all times and be prepared to display it on demand.
Emilio worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for the next two months. The prison workers hauled sheets of plywood and other materials from flat-bed trucks to the job site. Carpenters cut the sheets and nailed the pieces together. Iron workers followed the carpenters, setting reinforcement bars in the forms.
Every night, as he lay in the cot, Emilio thought of ways to escape. He came up with a plan: hide on a truck that was leaving the compound.
One day, toward the end of his shift, Emilio was adjusting the canvas tarps on a truck. He looked around, the guards in the towers were not looking in his direction. The guards on foot were not looking either. Emilio crawled under the tarp.
The truck took off then slowed down. It was approaching the main gate. Guards would inspect under the tarp before the truck was cleared to leave the compound. Emilio crawled forward and wedged himself into the space under the tool box mounted behind the cab.