Monday, 12 November, 2018

Donald Trump prepares for major immigration speech, debate with Clinton

Melinda Barton | 31 August, 2016, 08:25

"It's rhetorical, but why is he even talking about how to make the 30 million illegals here more comfortable?"

Facing headwinds among moderate voters who view his past rhetoric as racist, but trying to assuage his core conservative base, Trump has attempted something of an image makeover during the past two weeks - leaving Democrats and Republicans alike unclear on where actually Trump stands. But none could address whether Trump still favored a deportation force.

That was never realistic.

So has he scrapped the idea of removing all undocumented immigrants from the country?

The question of what to do with the undocumented population has long tripped up Republicans who oppose granting them legal status.

In an interview with Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, host John Dickerson pointed out that Trump has advocated deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the USA and he asked why Trump is shifting on that stance. Joni Ernst's "Roast and Ride" were an illustration of the pivot he is attempting -- from his promise during the primaries to deport all undocumented immigrants, to a new narrowed focus on immigrant criminals. Trump is "learning on the fly, it seems", about what's plausible and how to discuss the thorny issue, he said.

But a senior campaign adviser said Monday that "conversation" on what to do with undocumented immigrations will come after efforts are made to tighten security on the border. "You don't debate how you're going to bail out the boat until you plug the hole".

The candidate had told Fox News' Sean Hannity last Tuesday that "there could certainly be a softening, because we're not looking to hurt people".

In a May 4 interview after he secured the nomination, Trump reiterated his plan to deport everyone who's unlawfully present, but added a twist. "He is saying that, as well".

Trump raised the subject after sending out tweets earlier in the day that prompted charges of insensitivity to the death and accusations he sought to exploit it for political purposes.

Republican rivals scoffed at the sheer unfeasibility of his proposal - leading Trump to cite the model of the 1954 "Operation Wetback" under President Dwight Eisenhower, which rounded up thousands of undocumented immigrants from USA fields and ranches, bused them to detention centers, and sent them back to Mexico, first by airlift, and then by cargo boat - a journey that was widely denounced as inhumane. "But there will be no path to legalization, no path to citizenship unless people leave the country". On Sunday, led by vice presidential running mate Mike Pence, Trump's surrogates fanned out across the televised talk shows to reiterate other parts of his proposal but none could answer that question. Trump's campaign had scheduled it for last Thursday, then canceled it. "This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration".

"He hasn't changed his position on immigration".

Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, deputy vice president of the pro-immigration National Council of La Raza, said she doesn't perceive a meaningful shift in Trump's positions.

"It's hard to say what if, any impact, something so undefined may have". "Once he gave that Mexican rapist speech, I'll walk across glass for him".