An easily gullible media got head-faked by Trump on immigration ‘softening’


shiny_objects_shirtYesterday I suggested that the media’s infatuation with Donald Trump’s “softening” of his immigration stance was just a head-fake of an easily gullible media. I was right.

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.

Cartoon_62In a CNN interview that aired Thursday evening, Anderson Cooper asked Trump: “So if they haven’t committed a crime, is there going to be a path to legalization? I’m not talking about citizenship.”

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. If the candidate continues to make rapid “flip-flops” should the media just sit and wait until the candidate settles down? I think NOT! On the other hand, at least wait for a complete 24 hour news cycle rather than the current 24 minute cycle.

  2. AzBM, you keep talking as if the media is pro-Trump and trying to paint him in a positive light. If the media is trying to do that I certainly don’t see it. What I see is their constant hammering and condemning Trump for all of the stupid things he says and does. If anything, I think they show a certain bias in favor of Hillary, although not a strong bias.

    • Back in May, which is the latest reporting i could find, CBC Marketwatch reported that Donald Trump had received $3 billion in free air tie from the networks. During the primaries he did not have to spend money on advertising. No other candidate in history has received that kind of celebrity treatment from the media. The media made Donald Trump.

      Some in the media are now finally doing their job that they should have been doing all along. But listen carefully to most reporting: the framing of the reporting is frequently from the Trump perspective echoing his talking points. It’s a subtle bias, and a lack of challenging what he says or fact checking him.

      • Okay, I will grudgingly admit I can see your point somewhat. But that gives rise to a big question: WHY would they do that? The media is not a friend to Trump. He’s not paying them. They don’t secretly support his candidacy. I don’t many of them want to see him elected. Are they that animostic to Hillary? I just can’t see a single benefit for them in giving Trump advantageous coverage.

        • Hey Steve, I’m 50-ish, I bet you’re around the same age.

          Remember back when there were three networks and maybe a fuzzy UFH channel on TV? TV and radio stations were almost all locally owned.

          By law, broadcasters were required to present a percentage of airtime for the public good. So you had real local news, Uncle Walter at night, and kids shows in the morning’s like Captain Kangaroo.

          Back in small town Ohio we had a Farm Report at like 4am.

          They had to have open books and you or I could go down to the station and verify that they’re doing their public service.

          And by law, you couldn’t own more than so many stations in a given market. The idea was to encourage competition and prevent one person/group from owning the news.

          The idea was these were “public” airwaves. From a science standpoint, that makes as much sense as anything. You can’t have every Joe Blow running their own station, stepping on someone else’s frequency.

          After those rules were rolled back, (thank St. Ronnie a lot of that, and Slick Willy too, as I recall) newsrooms were moved under the entertainment division, and rather than have hundreds of local TV/Radio station owners, about 6 corporations own everything.

          And you no longer have equal time rules.

          Now, newsrooms are no longer allowed to lose money in the public interest, for the Good of America, they’re required to make money.

          Trump is ratings and ratings are cash and shareholders demand growth.

          Capitalism is a great thing, until it’s not, and it creates a Trump/Clinton election.

          And I need to learn to learn the value of brevity and shorten my posts.

          • That’s interesting. Roughly speaking, I think I was serving my second year in Vietnam when you were in kindergarten. For some reason I thought you were older.

            Anyway, your explanation about why news organizations would give so much often favorable coverage to Trump makes sense to me. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

  3. you must be watching different news media maybe fox? msnbc has especially hammered trump on immigration flip flop that is all madcow and laurence do is attack trump. watching their shows hillary is treated like jesus! cnn clinton not news network just fired dr. dry for question hilarys health.

    • Is it too much to ask that when you are trolling that you at least pay attention to spelling and grammar and state a coherent thought for a change? Dude, you have serious cognitive issues.

  4. It turns out there is an actual case of voter fraud in the US. Apparently Steve Bannon, the new CEO of T.rump’s campaign, has been registered to vote at an empty house. Now, after being caught in the act by the Guardian, he has changed his registration to a friend’s house.
    T.rump claims that he will make America great again by hiring the best people. Let’s review his personnel choices to run his campaign. Corey Lewandowski likes to beat people up at campaign rallies, and likes to grab women reporters. Paul Manafort is part of Putin’s inner circle, and may have received over $12 million in cash from a Ukraine political party. Now Steve Bannon, one of the founders of the alt.right, is apparently unfamiliar with American voting laws.

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