• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Trump Flip Flops On Immigration Again

Donald Trump Shrug

Less than twenty-four hours after seeming to suggest during a Town Hall on Fox News Channel that he was open to the idea of allowing some portion of the people who are in the United States illegally, Donald Trump appeared on CNN and essentially contradicted himself completely and reversed his position back to where it has been from the beginning of his Presidential campaign:

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump ruled out Thursday a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the United States, walking back comments he made earlier this week in which he appeared open to the idea.

But the Republican nominee declined in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to clarify whether he would still forcibly deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US — a major tenet of his immigration platform — after he suggested this week he was “softening” on the idea.

“There’s no path to legalization unless they leave the country,” Trump said after an event in Manchester, New Hampshire. “When they come back in, then they can start paying taxes, but there is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and then come back.”

Trump said that on his first day in office, he would authorize law enforcement to actively deport “bad dudes,” such as those who have committed crimes, which he said numbered “probably millions.” But he declined to flatly say whether he would round up other undocumented immigrants, stressing that once the initial deportations occur, “then we can talk.”

“There is a very good chance the answer could be yes,” Trump said when asked if he would deport those who have lived here peacefully but without papers. “We’re going to see what happens.”

Trump’s comments are the latest turn in a now-daily recalibration of his position on immigration, which Trump said he would crystallize in a speech next week. During the primary, Trump advocated unequivocally for deporting undocumented immigrants, and the shifts he has hinted at would be a highly-scrutinized flip on a trademark issue.

Trump had said earlier this week that he would be open to a “softening” on immigration, and made a series of comments that indicated a path to legalization was likely as long as they paid taxes accumulated from their time living here illegally. Yet Trump now seems to be reverting to his original plan — one derided as a “touchback” policy in which those without proper papers must return home before re-entering the country.

Yet it was now unclear to what length Trump would go to execute those deportations.

“It’s a process. You can’t take 11 at one time and just say ‘boom, you’re gone,'” he told Cooper, floating the idea that as many as 30 million people could be living here illegally, a projection well beyond most analysts’ figures. “I don’t think it’s a softening. I’ve had people say it’s a hardening, actually.”

On Wednesday, Trump suggested he would allow exceptions to let some undocumented immigrants to stay in the US, vowing he wouldn’t grant them citizenship but telling Fox News, “there’s no amnesty, but we work with them.”

Trump continued: “No citizenship. Let me go a step further — they’ll pay back-taxes, they have to pay taxes, there’s no amnesty, as such, there’s no amnesty, but we work with them,” Trump told Sean Hannity when asked if he would allow for exceptions to his long-held position.

Trump’s current articulation of his policy, which could obviously change depending on the whims of the candidate and the venue he happens to be speaking in front of, is different from both his original policy and the change he suggested the other day in the wake of speculation that he was softening his tone on immigration. Originally, Trump said that, in addition to constructing the border wall that Mexico would pay for, one of the primary pillars of his immigration plan would be the deportation of all eleven million or so people believed to be in the country illegally. When asked how he would accomplish this seemingly impossible task, Trump on more than one occasion mentioned the idea of a “deportation force” that would round up illegal immigrants and their family and expedite their return to their countries of origin. This suggests, of course, a massive increase in the number of Border Patrol agents or the creation of some new law enforcement agency specifically devoted to illegal immigrants. In any case, the details of that plan, most notably how Trump would deal with the fact that current law requires that people being deported be giving the opportunity for a hearing and all the protections of due process under the Constitution, were never quite clear but then again that’s been largely true of every other Trump policy idea. In any case, with the rumors of a policy shift on immigration fresh in the air, Trump appeared to abandon that idea entirely on Wednesday when he suggested that some portion of the people in the country illegally would be allowed to stay in the country. Now Trump appears to be back to suggesting mass deportation, or at least the idea that the only way that someone here illegally could hope to obtain legal status would be return to their country of origin, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and get in line for legal status, a process that could take years to be processed.

I said yesterday that voters would be ”would be foolish to accept this change at face value,” so I’m not at all surprised to see Trump changing his position yet again on what has been the central issue of his campaign, What I didn’t entirely expect was that he would change his position so soon after his comments on Wednesday night, although given Trump’s tendency to randomly go off on tangents, often in the middle of a speech on a completely different topic. As was the case with his comments on Wednesday, the campaign seems to be trying to downplay Trump’s answer in the CNN interview, but it’s right there in his own words along with the video of his Wednesday interview where he took a diametrically opposed position on the same issue so it’s next to impossible for them to deny that he said what he said. More importantly, if Trump does try to come up with some more nuanced position on immigration in the coming weeks, one need only point to his flip flops now to argue that his new position simply isn’t believable and that it’s safest to assume that his true position is the restrictionist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic position he built his campaign on.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    The slight deviation from the line was only a ploy to help Trump Rail in the purchase of cattle cars, to rent o Amtrak after the election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. gVOR08 says:

    He’s been campaigning for over a year with immigration as his signature issue. And he doesn’t know what his position is. Like Bugs said, what a maroon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    He does not have positions. He does not have policies. He thinks entirely in reactive terms, always in the moment. His actions are solely short-term, instinctive moves. He’s a narcissist and a psychopath – a shark with absurdly high self-regard. He swims restlessly searching for the smell of blood and the sound of applause.

    There is no Trump position on anything. There is no Trump within the shell, he’s all shell, all reaction, all instinct, no thought, no planning, no empathy, no curiosity, no moral core, no conscience, nothing. One might as well speculate on the philosophy of a cockroach. He’s much easier to understand if you stop thinking of him as human.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 1

  4. Argon says:

    @michael reynolds: “There is no Trump position on anything”

    Half right. Trump’s one position is that whatever works for the moment in promoting his immediate desires and what he thinks he can get away with is fine. It’s almost pure id.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  5. al-Alameda says:

    In any case, with the rumors of a policy shift on immigration fresh in the air, Trump appeared to abandon that idea entirely on Wednesday when he suggested that some portion of the people in the country illegally would be allowed to stay in the country. Now Trump appears to be back to suggesting mass deportation, or at least the idea that the only way that someone here illegally could hope to obtain legal status would be return to their country of origin, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and get in line for legal status, a process that could take years to be processed.

    Gee, it sort of seems like Trump is inadvertently supporting the Rubio-Schumer immigration reform bill that base Republicans despised.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. CSK says:

    Ann Coulter must be sooooo relieved.

    For the moment, anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  7. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yep. As I noted earlier this year, he’s a classic BS artist. He might occasionally say something true or even insightful by accident. But for the most part, he’s a used car salesman making it up as he goes. He’s sometimes contradicted himself in the same sentence.

    The person I (almost) feel sorry for is Conway, who is clearly trying to steer this behemoth onto the rails of a sensible campaign. If she doesn’t quit, she’s going to have a hell of a book to write.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  8. Tyrell says:

    “Trump has announced that instead of building a wall at the border he will put in revolving doors – to fit in with his flip flopping immigration policy”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  9. CSK says:

    It’s only mid-morning on the east coast of the U.S. What’s the over/under on another flip during the course of today? I think Trump’s record of three different positions on abortion between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. still stands.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  10. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Trump forces everyone to sign NDAs, though I’ve no idea how enforceable they are. I’d love to be a mole in the campaign, taking notes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  11. PB says:

    @michael reynolds: The absolute best description I’ve seen to date of this incredibly incapable nincompoop! Thank you so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. KM says:

    He freaking polled the room! He literally waited until he saw what the more popular position was and rolled with it! Even Rush Limbaugh couldn’t believe Trump did that, on camera no less. My Trump supporting aunts were stunned for a few seconds before stuttering out a weak “He’s listening to what people really want.” My reply was that it’s no wonder they’ve voting for the angry, racist schizophrenic conman since they don’t seem to know what they want other then pissed off!

    It really is turning into a cult-like devotion. There is no Truth, only Trump.
    Reality is a lie, there is only anger.
    Through anger, I become a troll.
    Through trolling, I gain power over PC-ness.
    Through power over PC-ness, I gain true DGAF.
    Through DGAF, my chains are broken.
    The Donald shall free me.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  13. Rafer Janders says:

    @CSK:

    Trump forces everyone to sign NDAs, though I’ve no idea how enforceable they are.

    Like most every contract, they are as enforceable as the desire of the person who claims a breach of the contract to sue for that breach, and the desire and ability of the alleged breacher to defend against such claim.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  14. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds: Although I agree, there is another component to his personality that is also present. His neediness. His actions are driven by not only the need but the need to belong. That drives his rage against the “elites”. Because he wants to be one of them. He was always banging on NY society. But their reaction has always been that he is a classless boor and they shut him out. Behavior flows from that rejection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  15. grumpy realist says:

    It’s not Trump that scares me, it’s the number of Americans blindly following him.

    I wonder how many are doing so because deep down they’re anarchists and want to just “blow up the system” (which electing Trump would definitely do), how many are following him because they’re desperate and realize he’s NBG but might be a smidgen better than Business-as-Usual, and how many are following him because they’re automatic marks for any con-man around.

    Trump is the USA’s equivalent of a Nigerian spam letter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  16. CSK says:

    @Scott:

    Yep. He was desperate to buy his way into New York’s Old Guard, which can’t be done. And even if it could, he went about it the exact wrong way, thinking he could impress them by getting his name in the tabloids, bragging about his various adulteries, claiming he’d slept with “the top women in the world,” etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. C. Clavin says:

    What a pathetic man.
    Nearly as pathetic as his followers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. SenyorDave says:

    @Hal_10000: If she doesn’t quit, she’s going to have a hell of a book to write.

    Cha-ching! I have to assume that at this point anyone who comes on to the Trump campaign is in it for money or power. It certainly isn’t for principles or the taste of winning.

    I also am guessing that maybe Trump bet someone that he can get his Hispanic share of the vote into single digits. I can’t imagine how he ever polled 20%, and some of those must be contemplating a switch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  19. rachel says:

    @Scott:

    But their reaction has always been that he is a classless boor and they shut him out.

    Worse: he’s a no-class cheapskate. I bet if he’d stuck a crowbar into his bank account from time to time and pried loose enough money for their pet charities, they’d’ve come around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. Gustopher says:

    Barely OT, but Clinton’s speech about the alt-right was devastating, and well worth hunting down and watching. She minces no words about Trump’s comfort with racism and conspiracy theories, plowing through example after example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. charon says:

    @Gustopher:

    . http://www.vox.com/2016/8/25/12647810/hillary-clinton-speech-alt-right .

    Transcript at linkie above. I prefer reading transcripts, listening too time consuming. But the speech is easy to find with the Google.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: Great description over at Balloon Juice. (Even if you don’t agree, read the description just for the sheer eloquence)

    She burned the fucking Trump campaign to the ground and pissed on the ashes — in a remarkably ladylike fashion. Then she scooped up the piss-soaked ashes with a trowel, loaded them into a clown cannon and shot them into a toxic waste dump. Then she hopped into a fighter jet and strafed the dump. Then she took a space shuttle out of mothballs, strapped a nuclear warhead into it, flew up to the fucking International Space Station and then nuked the piss-soaked ashes of the dumped, bullet-ridden campaign from orbit.

    Or maybe Clinton merely provided a succinct overview of Trump’s decades-long history of race-baiting sleaze, called him out for cultivating neo-Nazi scum supporters, excoriated him for elevating crazy people like Alex Jones and denounced him for putting white nationalist pukes in charge of his campaign. In either case, it was glorious

    — Betty Cracker (one of the regular contributors at BJ)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  23. RWB says:

    I have always thought that it would be a Republican that comes to take our guns away, not a Democrat. There would be active outrage at the Democrat attempt, but a Republican could pivot into it with only moderate resistance ala Nixon’s pivot on China; remember ” Only Nixon could go to China?”

    With Trump’s blowing in the wind commitment to conservative values, this flip-flopper-in-chief looks perfect for the role. In a few years will we be saying “Only Trump could pass gun control?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Barry says:

    “When asked how he would accomplish this seemingly impossible task, Trump on more than one occasion mentioned the idea of a “deportation force” that would round up illegal immigrants and their family and expedite their return to their countries of origin. This suggests, of course, a massive increase in the number of Border Patrol agents or the creation of some new law enforcement agency specifically devoted to illegal immigrants. ”

    Nah, there’d be a ‘special force’ to do it. Einsatzgruppen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  25. Gavrilo says:

    All the a$$wipes who voted for Trump in the primaries should be deported. In order to get back in, they should have to pay a fine and apologize to the American people for their blatant disregard for representative democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  26. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Alameda: Yeah, but the Republican base–as well as the Republican leadership and followership in the House and Senate–are only opposed to the Rubio-Schumer bill because a Democrat holds the highest office and will get credit for “solving the immigration problem.” I realize that means that they will continue to be opposed to it for a decade or more, but I can’t control that problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. grumpy realist says:

    Interesting take on Hillary’s speech (and the reactions to it) from Charles Pierce

    Somewhat along the lines of “you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Gustopher says:

    @Barry: The Deportation Force appeals to me, since it sounds so much like a children’s cartoon. In fact, it should be a cartoon.

    Like Voltron: Lion Force, except breaking up families, gathering people into detention camps and shipping them across the border — possibly stealthily parachuting them in at night, if the countries of origin aren’t willing to take massive numbers of their citizens back all at once.

    It would be educational, teaching children things like “Por favor, no tome a mi padre”, how to detect the Muslims living among us, and how to get in touch with the real Deportation Force if they suspect their neighbors of being illegal immigrants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. David M says:

    The mistake here was assuming that the words Trump says mean the same thing as when other humans use them. Just shorten everything he says to “I’m awesome. I’ll totally gold plate the solution to that problem. Next?” and then things start making more sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. Thor thormussen says:

    Trump, who says he doesn’t read much at all, is both a product of the epidemic of ignorance and a main producer of it. He can litter the campaign trail with hundreds of easily debunked falsehoods because conservative media has spent more than two decades tearing down the idea of objective fact.

    nyt

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. Andrew says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Basically: Trump got roasted so badly he won’t have wear his famous his orange glow for years to come. He’s is now naturally tan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Thor thormussen: And yet on Rachel his new campaign manger, Kellyanne whatever, said Trump was studious and reads all the time. As always, lying or stupid?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:

    It was deliberate. I watched the interview, Kellyanne Qusling wanted to get that point across. which means the campaign (such as it is) recognizes he has a vulnerability and is trying to counter it.

    Long story short, yeah, Trump doesn’t read much, probably can’t due to untreated ADHD and/or dyslexia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Dividist says:

    @michael reynolds: For some reason, I am finding telling Trumpkins “I told you so” to be much less satisfying than I expected. It’s just mildly depressing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0