As Jeb! Bush noted yesterday, “Well, I can only say that whatever his views are this morning, they might change this afternoon, and they were different than they were last night, and they’ll be different tomorrow.” Late yesterday, Trump, shifting back, now says no legal status for all 11 million illegal immigrants:
Donald Trump on Thursday appeared to shift back to some version of the hard-line immigration posture he adopted in the GOP primaries, telling CNN that he does not support a path to legal status for illegal immigrants unless they leave the country and return legally.
The comment added a new layer of confusion to the GOP presidential nominee’s position on one of his signature issues. This week, Trump and his aides have softened their rhetoric on immigration, signaling an openness to legalizing many of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants despite Trump’s long-standing vow to deport them all.
Trump responded: “First thing we’re going to do. No is not a path — there is no path to legalization unless people leave the country. When they come back in, if they come back in, then they can start paying taxes, but there is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back.”
In seeming to shift back toward his original position, Trump acknowledged that he would not be able to easily and efficiently deport all 11 million people at once. Trump said that “bad dudes” would be deported as soon as he took office, a group he described as containing “probably millions.” He did not say what would happen to the remaining immigrants, but he did say “there is a very good chance” they would eventually be deported.
“It’s a process. You can’t take 11 at one time and just say: ‘Boom, you’re gone,'” Trump said.
For all the lazy media villagers who stenographically report whatever Donald Trump says without questioning what he is actually saying or having the political savvy to know when you are being played, you got played by writing all those “softening” reports over the past week. You should turn in your media credentials and seek more suitable employment.
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post breaks it down for you. Trump’s position on deportations is perfectly clear. Let us decode it for you.
Donald Trump gave an extended interview to CNN’s Anderson Cooper last night, in which he tried to clear up all the uncertainty surrounding his position on mass deportations. His interview is being widely faulted for adding more confusion.
In reality, Trump made his position on immigration perfectly clear. It’s this: All the 11 million undocumented immigrants still remain targets for deportation. We’ll go after the worst ones first, because I recognize that not all of them are full blown criminals — I have a tremendously big heart, believe me — but we will probably have to target the rest for removal later. And there is no meaningful path to legal status for any of them.
The most important claim Trump made is that under his plan, “there is no path to legalization, unless they leave the country and come back.” This is widely — and rightly — being interpreted as confirmation that Trump will offer no path to legal status for the 11 million that doesn’t require them to leave the country first.
But Trump actually went further than that. Many have speculated that Trump left an opening to create a process by which undocumented immigrants (“the good ones,” anyway) can leave and come back via an expedited path to legal status.
But Trump actually said, in a tacit way, that this will not happen. He said — repeatedly — that his plan would be carried out under “existing law.” He said: “We’re going to go with the laws that are existing.” If this is true, then Trump has foreclosed the option of an expedited path to legal status for those who leave the country, because the creation of such a path would require a change in the law.
“Under existing law, undocumented immigrants who leave the U.S. are barred for returning for up to 10 years, and in some cases, permanently,” immigration lawyer David Leopold tells me. “The notion that they can leave and come back is meaningless without a legislative overhaul.”
Trump basically confirmed this himself. He said: “If somebody wants to go the legalization route, what they’ll do is they’ll go, leave the country, hopefully come back in. And then we can talk.” In other words, no path to legal status until you leave and come back, but we won’t even discuss that until you’ve left and returned.
Thus, under Trump’s plan (which is subject to change) there is no meaningful path to legal status at all. That’s because for many undocumented immigrants, leaving the country for long periods of time could mean uprooted families, moving out of homes, and abandoning jobs and communities, making it prohibitive, Leopold argues. “People won’t do it,” he says.
Now, deportations. Trump said repeatedly that “the bad ones” will be deported first. In so doing, Trump confirmed again that the enforcement priorities Obama has implemented for the last five years are correct. But, crucially, Trump made it clear that the rest remain targets. Asked whether the rest will be deported, Trump replied: “We’re going to see what happens once we strengthen up our border.” And when Cooper said that “the vast majority of those 11 million are not criminals,” Trump replied: “We don’t know that. We’re going to find out who they are.”
Translation: The good ones remain targets for deportation, though I’m not saying for sure whether I’ll deport them. That’s a slight shift from mass deportations, but it’s nothing like what Obama and Hillary Clinton — or even some Republicans — want. They favor taking their removal completely off the table, for the sake of the national interest, to rationalize enforcement resources and because they are more than simply criminals. They are currently contributing to American life, and their emigration was born of morally complex circumstances — they were trying to better their lives and their families’ future prospects — and is in keeping with American history and values.
Trump’s rhetoric right now reflects a search for a magic formula. He wants to reassure suburban white swing voters — who essentially favor mass assimilation because they see most undocumented immigrants as largely making a positive contribution — that he isn’t proposing to cruelly ship out millions, which would be costly and disruptive to families and communities. So he says, don’t worry, we’re only starting with the bad ones, and the status of the good ones may be subject to negotiation later. In other words, he compassionately recognizes that many of them are good people — they’re not all merely criminals. But he also wants to reassure the hardliners, so he indicates that they all are still subject to removal, which is code for indicating that he is not making mass assimilation the goal.
In the end, though, Trump’s actual position, for now at least, is defined by the latter. The prospective goal is not mass assimilation. It’s shrinkage and removal — beyond just the “bad ones.” There is no straddle that works. There is no magic formula here.
A new Pew Research Center poll finds Americans broadly rejecting many of Donald Trump’s views on immigration. Poll finds rejection of many of Trump’s views on immigration:
Large majorities of those surveyed said they think undocumented immigrants fill jobs that U.S. citizens do not want, are as honest and hardworking as U.S. citizens and are no more likely than citizens to commit serious crimes — sound rebukes of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration.
Even some of Trump’s own supporters reported positive views of undocumented immigrants on some issues. They expressed negative views of undocumented immigrants on other issues, including whether they commit more violent crimes than U.S. citizens.
A majority of those surveyed also rejected one of Trump’s signature policies: building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has vowed to get Mexico to pay for the wall, and the proposal has become such a big part of Trump’s presidential campaign that supporters chant “build the wall” at his rallies.
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed by Pew are opposed to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The proposal has far more support from Republicans and GOP-leaning independents — 63 percent favor it — while 84 percent of Democrats oppose it.
But the poll shows that support for building a border barrier has declined since Trump made it a centerpiece of his campaign. In September 2015, 48 percent of those surveyed by Pew opposed building a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. Support for a border fence fell to 38 percent in March, when 34 percent supported a wall in a separate question. In the latest survey, 36 percent support building a wall along the entire border.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the findings.
The Pew survey finds that support for building a border wall remains high among Trump supporters, at 79 percent.
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The Pew survey of 2,010 adults finds a 45 percent plurality of those queried — along with 45 percent of Republicans surveyed — who say both a path to citizenship for those here illegally and border security should be given equal priority when dealing with illegal immigration. Trump has said that undocumented immigrants have “got to go” and that he would create a “deportation force.”
Trump’s characterizations of undocumented immigrants were also soundly rejected in the poll.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said at his campaign kickoff speech in June 2015.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards, and they tell us what we’re getting,” Trump said.
Pew’s poll shows that a large majority of those surveyed — 76 percent — think that undocumented immigrants are as hardworking and honest as U.S. citizens. Sixty-five percent of Republicans surveyed said they believe this, along with 86 percent of Hispanics.
Among Trump supporters, 1 in 3 said undocumented immigrants in the United States are not as honest and hardworking as U.S. citizens.
Overall, 71 percent of those queried — and more than 6 in 10 Republicans surveyed — said undocumented immigrants mostly fill jobs that U.S. citizens do not want.
Among those who said they strongly favor Trump, 41 percent said they think undocumented immigrants mostly fill jobs that U.S. citizens would want.
Trump has repeatedly asserted that crime is surging and that this is because of illegal immigration, a claim that is unsupported.
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The survey shows that a large majority of people do not agree with Trump’s assertions that undocumented immigrants commit more violent crimes. Two-thirds of those surveyed said that undocumented immigrants are no more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes.
But there is a partisan rift on the issue. Four in 5 Democrats surveyed said undocumented immigrants are no more likely than citizens to commit serious crimes, compared with just more than half of the Republicans. But a smaller 42 percent of Republicans said they think undocumented immigrants are more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes. Half of Trump’s supporters say undocumented immigrants are more prone to commit crimes, a number that rises to 59 percent among those who support Trump “strongly.”
So basically the xenophobic nativists and racists of the Mass Deportation Party are with Trump, everyone else, not so much.