tags: , , , , , , Press Releases

Stop the Charade: Trump Hasn’t “Softened” on Immigration Vision

Share This:

It is time for all observers to stop the charade that somehow Donald Trump is “softening” on immigration.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, Trump is proposing “the most radical immigration policy of any nominee in modern American politics.” He adds, “The intended outcome of Trump’s policy is to drive all but a handful of undocumented immigrants out of the country. That’s 11 million people who live and work and are settled throughout America. If implemented, it would be one of the most shameful chapters in American history.”

Despite some holdouts in the media, most careful observers of American politics and policy understand Trump’s extremism. Yesterday, we highlighted the first wave of analysis. Below are some of second wave assessments:

New York Times Editorial, “Donald Trump, Deporter in Waiting”: 

“Don’t be confused by the days of mixed messaging from Donald Trump’s campaign, or the head-feint trip to Mexico, where he was polite to the president. Speaking on Wednesday in Phoenix, Mr. Trump did not retreat from, or in any way soften, his promise to make 11 million unauthorized immigrants targets for deportation. His speech — in 10 points, embellished with statistics, ad-libbed asides and audience hollering and chanting — was as clear a statement of hard-core restrictionism as any he has given. It was a mass-deportation speech, even if he avoided that phrase. Its intent was hard to miss.”

Washington Post Editorial, “Trump Doubles Down on His Illogical, Un-American Immigration Plans”: 

“It is useful that Donald Trump has clarified his plans for Larissa Martinez, who started classes this week as a freshman at Yale University, having graduated in the spring as class valedictorian at her Texas high school … Discarding his dalliance with fairness and compassion, the Republican presidential nominee this week tossed red meat to the xenophobes in his base by reaffirming his intention to launch a crusade of mass deportations that would target, according to an analysis by The Post, at least 6 million people. Among them, he said, would be immigrants who have overstayed their visas. That category would sweep up Ms. Martinez, who, at age 13, accompanied her mother and sister to the United States on a tourist visa; they stayed after the visa expired, having fled an abusive home in Mexico.”

Bloomberg (Editorial): Trump’s Immigration Ideas Are as Bad as Ever

“After more than a week of conflicting accounts of Donald Trump’s views on immigration, a period of confusion marked by words such as “softening,” Trump made his intentions clear Wednesday. The line is as hard as ever, even if the policy is all over the place. In the afternoon, Trump had a strange, subdued meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. At a joint appearance afterward, the Republican presidential candidate was positively demure, speaking of joint U.S.-Mexican endeavors to benefit the “hemisphere.” By evening, he was back in Phoenix, giving a speech in full-nativist mode. He shouted out what he called a plan on immigration, but it wasn’t actually a plan. No matter what happens in November, the basic bargain of an immigration agreement remains unchanged: some form of increased security against illegal immigration along with a humane and economically rational dispensation for the millions of undocumented immigrant families who have been living and working in the U.S. for years. In terms of tone, Trump is all over the place, but he’s consistent, at least, in refusing to engage with this reality.”

Immigration Attorney David Leopold on Medium, “Deconstructing Donald Trump’s Horrifying 10-step Assault on Immigration, Due Process and Other Cherished American Values”:

“Rhetorical gymnastics aside, what’s crystal clear after Wednesday’simmigration speech is that Donald Trump’s ugly vision of America would rip American families apart, devastate communities, wreak havoc on our economy, and threaten our security at home and abroad. That’s the dark vision Trump started his campaign with, and it’s the vision that remains.”

Aaron Blake and Jenna Johnson in the Washington Post, “Hispanic Supporters Flee Donald Trump’s Campaign After Fiery Immigration Speech”:

“Donald Trump’s meeting with his Hispanic advisory council a couple of weeks ago left its members so excited that some even told reporters that Trump was about to significantly soften his approach to illegal immigration and maybe even embrace a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. Those advisers got a reality check Wednesday night, when Trump gave arguably his toughest speech on illegal immigration yet — promising a large-scale crackdown and saying that every undocumented immigrant is subject to deportation. Now some of these Trump advisers, along with leading Hispanic Republicans who had been giving Trump a second look over the last two weeks, are renouncing him — and there are signs many more may follow.”

Jamelle Bouie in Slate, “Donald Trump Left His Bluster on This Side of the Border”: 

“With his speech in Phoenix, Trump emphasized the extent to which he hasn’t changed. Campaign spin aside, there is no “pivot” and Trump hasn’t softened. It’s deportation now, deportation tomorrow, and deportation forever.”

Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post, “Trump Can’t Soften Bigotry”: 

“Donald Trump’s diatribe on immigration Wednesday night dispelled any conceivable doubt: He is a dangerous demagogue who rejects the values of openness and inclusion that made this country great. Rarely has an American politician given such an un-American speech … you can’t soften bigotry. You can’t soften jingoism. You can’t soften Trump’s naked appeal to anger and resentment. You can’t soften the fact that he rejects American exceptionalism, which is based on creed, in favor of tribalism based on ethnic purity. He can’t be George Wallace one day and Thomas Jefferson the next.” 

Simon Rosenberg of NDN, “Trump’s Mass Deportation Strategy Explained”:

“While there has been a great deal of confusion around Trump’s immigration wiggle and concepts like “mass deportation” in the past few weeks, his strategy towards the 11m and others here without authorization is very clear: they all have to go, and he will ensure they do through an unprecedented expansion of the state’s power to round people up and deport them….In Trump’s published immigration plan and in his remarks last night the Republican nominee goes even further – he calls for the deputization of all other federal, state and local law enforcement in the round ‘em up efforts. This would create a super sized, truly ubiquitous, 24/7 deportation force, far greater than what DHS offers today. The reporting by some that he has backed off mass deportation is just plain wrong. He made clear in Arizona last night that all 11m undocumented immigrants in the country would have to leave and return to their country of origin with no guarantee of return. This would require them to quit their jobs, sell their homes/break their leases, rip up families and return to a country they no longer know. For those from countries like Mexico with huge backlogs, the application process to re-enter could easily take 20-30 years. This is anything but humane, soft or even pragmatic.”

Alan Gomez and David Jackson in USA Today, “With No Softening on Immigration, Can Trump Broaden Support?” 

“So much for Donald Trump’s pivot on immigration. Though Trump himself has suggested he was ‘softening’ in recent days, the Republican presidential nominee used a high-profile speech Wednesday to re-affirm a hard-line immigration policy that includes cutting off federal funds for ‘sanctuary cities,’ building a ‘great wall along the southern border,’ exhibiting ‘zero tolerance for criminal aliens,’ and promoting policies that could well lead to removal of millions of undocumented immigrants.”

Timothy Egan, in the New York Times“The Immigrants Turned Away”:

“In the hate speech that Donald Trump gave on immigration in Phoenix on Wednesday night, he all but deported the Statue of Liberty, laying out one of the darkest visions of the American experience that any major-party nominee has ever given. Despite the media misread by some who presented the speech as a pivot, it got rave reviews from neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan supporters, and prompted some of Trump’s few Latino advisers to resign in protest. “Excellent speech,” said David Duke, the former Klan leader. In Trump’s America, those working in the shadows are not the lawn cutters, Sheetrock hangers, fruit pickers or nannies we see in every community, but the criminal dregs. Under his rules, this country would have closed its doors long ago to those who made the United States the great experiment, unique to the world. He would have shut off the flow of people whose best and perhaps only asset at the time was desire for a better life.”