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On Sunday, August 16, 2015 Donald Trump released an immigration policy position paper that has generated nearly as much controversy as his original, inflammatory statements about Mexicans. Below are excerpts from just some of the many fine analytical pieces that came out yesterday and today in English and Spanish language media.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE COVERAGE
Wall Street Journal editorial, entitled, “The Deportation Party?”:
“Republican critics of U.S. immigration policy have long claimed that they welcome legal immigrants. That claim is going to be tested now that Donald Trump has unveiled a policy outline that would deport millions and sharply restrict all immigration. Mr. Trump is bidding to make the GOP the deportation party. The presidential candidate released his outline on Sunday to great applause from the GOP’s anti-immigration wing. The six pages lack policy specifics, but we’ll try to parse them because the Trump outline would be the most radical crackdown on immigration since the 1920s.
“At least in 2012 Mitt Romney was only in favor of ‘self deportation.’ Mr. Trump wants to triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to police the U.S.-Mexican border, track down undocumented employees and visa overstays, and raid workplaces. Asked on NBC’s ‘Meet the Pres’ if his plan applies to all illegals, including kids, Mr. Trump said ‘they have to go.’
“Are his police going to search from door to door to arrest 11 million people? How else will they be rounded up? Mr. Trump says he would keep families together, which would at least spare the scenes of tearful mothers hauled away from their crying children. But Republicans may want to think twice before becoming the party responsible for piling onto buses entire families who are stitched into the fabric of communities. This is not a good political look.
“The good news in all of this is that Mr. Trump’s radicalism may finally smoke out a real immigration debate within the GOP. Many restrictionists have claimed only to oppose immigrants who break the law in coming to the U.S. Now we’ll see how many join Mr. Trump in calling for mass deportation and walling off America to all newcomers. The last time Republicans tried this, in the 1920s, they alienated immigrant groups like the Irish and Italians for decades until Ronald Reagan won them back. If they want to lose in 2016, they’ll follow Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant siren.”
Washington Post editorial, entitled, “Donald Trump’s immigration plan would wreak havoc on U.S. society”:
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who unveiled his immigration platform over the weekend, says America’s illegal immigrants ‘have to go.’ Although the large majority of Americans don’t agree, Mr. Trump is appealing to a more sympathetic audience: the most conservative slice of the Republican primary electorate.
“What Mr. Trump proposes is nothing less than manufacturing a humanitarian upheaval on a scale rivaling the refugee crisis in Syria. Notwithstanding his cavalier rhetoric, there’s no evidence Americans would tolerate such a mass uprooting of people who have planted deep roots in this nation.
“The truth is that Mr. Trump is waging oratorical warfare on a problem whose dimensions have been shrinking for years. The undocumented population declined by nearly a million since it peaked at 12.2 million in 2007. Demographic shifts in Mexico, including a falling birth rate and better educational attainment, are dampening the impetus to leave.
Washington Post Plumline writer, Greg Sargent, writes a piece entitled “You should take Donald Trump’s immigration plan seriously. Here’s why.”:
“Trump has laid down a hard marker. The questions now: Will the story Trump is telling on immigration enhance his appeal to GOP primary voters, as is plainly his goal? (I have argued that GOP primary voters have far more nuanced views, and I hope that holds true).
“What will the other GOP candidates — such as Jeb Bush, who has called for legalization, and argued that illegal immigrants have something positive to contribute to American life — say in response? Will other candidates feel obliged to echo that narrative, thus potentially boxing the eventual nominee into a place that’s arguably to the right of Mitt Romney’s self-deportation stance? Will any of them push back on it?”
Dara Lind of Vox in a piece, entitled, “Donald Trump is forcing other Republicans to say things they’ll regret about immigration”:
“At the very beginning of the year, I pointed out that the long presidential primary, combined with the importance of Latino voters in the general election, put the Republican field in a prisoner’s dilemma on immigration:
“Collectively, they’re better off not saying anything about immigration that’s specific enough to be a problem for them later on. But individually, there’s a huge short-term benefit for the first candidate who can turn immigration to his advantage in the primary. […]
“For what it’s worth, I thought at the time that candidate would be Ted Cruz (though I wasn’t confident enough to write that in the piece). So I was wrong about the main character. But man oh man, was I right about the plot.
“Until now, the rest of the Republican field has managed to ignore Trump’s immigration rhetoric, or at least avoid saying anything specific enough that could hurt them with Latinos in the general. But now that Trump has an actual policy platform on immigration, it appears that other candidates feel the need to stake out their own positions on the issue — and make it clear they’re not softer on immigrants than Trump.
New York Times editorial blog by Lawrence Downes, entitled “Donald Trump’s American Idiocy”:
“Donald Trump has an immigration plan. It’s bananas, of course, the kind of policy menu you’d get from a think tank made up of people who yell at the TV….It would means telling industries, cities and towns whose vitality depends on immigrants: tough luck, losers. It would mean making enemies of allied countries like Mexico, which Mr. Trump wants to turn into a vassal state, forced to build and pay for a 2,000-mile border wall.
“And if you think about it, which Mr. Trump has not done, it would require making life in the United States more miserable for unauthorized immigrants than anyplace else in the world. For his plan to work, an immigrant family would have to decide that life in Arizona, New York, Los Angeles or Iowa was more hopeless than in Honduras, Guatemala, rural China, Africa or all the other places that people leave, seeking a better life in America. This is the Trump decree: No better lives for you.
“It’s this commitment to hopelessness that I find most striking about the plan. That, and how grimly un-American it is….By un-American I mean the plan is so stunningly lacking in self-confidence, optimism, shrewdness and strength — all the virtues that this country supposedly has in abundance.
“It wasn’t always this way. We used to welcome immigrants and make them Americans and turn their grit and ambition to our advantage. But now, Mr. Trump tells us, we are weak and wounded, and we have to respond the way such people do, by lashing out at people who are even weaker. It’s loathsome and needs to be denounced, and not just by the usual pro-immigrant voices.
“Republicans of the 2016 presidential campaign, the next move should be yours.”
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait’s piece, entitled “Trump Is the Republicans’ Nightmare and They Won’t Wake Up From It”
“Immigration did not represent the totality of the party elite’s strategic response to the 2012 election, but it did constitute its main tenet. The Republican brain trust hoped to resolve its image problem with Latino and Asian-American voters by passing immigration reform as quickly as possible. The purest version of this strategy, articulated by Charles Krauthammer, called for Republicans to fold completely on immigration, and change nothing else about their program. The idea was to take the short-term hit as quickly as possible after the midterms, allowing the base to vent its spleen and make up in time for the presidential campaign. Republicans in the Senate were able to make this happen, but the House proved typically impotent in the face of opposition.
“In the wake of this failure, Republicans have vaguely hoped to finesse the issue. Trump is making that difficult. His arch-restrictionist plan — involving mass deportations and a gigantic wall on the Mexican border that Trump, through the use of his uniquely Trumpian negotiating power, would make Mexico finance — has set a standard against which others will be judged. Scott Walker is already bellying up to the bar, comparing himself to the polling leader (‘I haven’t looked at all the details of his, but the things I’ve heard are very similar to the things I mentioned’). Given that Trump has made himself the symbol of racism against Mexicans, it is difficult to imagine a simple escape from the party’s branding disasters of the Obama era. But that is what they have, and what they may well continue to have, well into 2016.”
Kica Matos of Center for Community Change/Fair Immigration Reform Movement, in a New York Times piece entitled “Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan Casts Rivals as the Rope in a Tug of War”:
“Chasing extremists on immigration to win the primary will end the Republican Party’s ability to win the general election in 2016, and it will destroy the party. If you alienate the fastest-growing voting block in the country you cannot win today, and you cannot survive tomorrow.”
Raul Reyes, lawyer and commentator, in CNN.com, entitled ”Donald Trump’s clueless immigration plan”:
“Think of the tremendous economic upheaval, human suffering and community destabilization that would occur if our government were to round up and remove 11 million people. Such an idea is staggering in its lack of compassion, especially since a reported 62% of the undocumented have lived here for at least a decade, most as productive members of their American communities.
“The costs of mass deportations would be, to use a favorite Trump term, ‘huge.’ The conservative American Action Forum has estimated that deporting all of our undocumented immigrants would cost between $400 billion and $600 billion, and would take about 20 years. Under such a scenario, real gross domestic product would fall by nearly $1.6 trillion”
Lauren Fox in the National Journal, entitled “This Is How Much Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan Would Cost America if Mexico Doesn’t Pick Up the Tab”:
“It’s not cheap to halt illegal immigration in America. And even a business mogul like Donald Trump may have missed the bottom line….The explosive costs of mass deportation have often forced Republican presidential and congressional candidates to find another solution. Trump’s position is far outside the mainstream of many other Republicans.
“When the Senate’s so-called gang of eight released its immigration-reform bill in 2013, theCongressional Budget Office estimated the [E-Verify] plan would cost $22 billion to implement. But, the plan—which enforced the border but also put some of the 11 million on a path to citizenship—reduced the deficit by $197 billion in the first 10 years. It’s unclear how much Trump’s plan would reduce the deficit. The biggest price tag of his plan, however, might not actually be possible to calculate. Immigration experts say that even immigrants living in the country illegally still contribute to the economy.”
Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg View, entitled “Trump Is GOP Policy Nightmare”:
“Donald Trump has an immigration policy. It’s based on dubious assertions and would be fabulously expensive, but as a statement of goals it’s largely coherent. And it may mark a very, very dangerous turning point in the Republican presidential primary.
“There are two main facets of illegal immigration: border security, encompassing both the nation’s geographic border and its ports and airports, and the fate of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S. All Republican candidates support varying degrees of increased border enforcement, repeating ‘secure the border’ as a charm to ward off the evil eye of the right wing.
“The party is otherwise fractured. Legal immigration is a sticky point, pitting Republican donors against the party’s sizable wing of immigration restrictionists. And the question of what to do about the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., most of whom have been here for a decade or more, is even stickier. Polls show that a majority of Americans support some kind of path to legalization. But Republicans are more opposed — and opponents are particularly vocal.
“If a path to legalization or citizenship is foreclosed, two options remain: continuing the status quo, leaving 11 million people residing illegally in the U.S. Or deporting them. Even the most virulently restrictionist Republicans have avoided explicitly calling for the latter. Instead, they typically suggest that the fate of the 11 million is an issue to be addressed only once “a secure border” is in place. “A secure border” being largely a matter of conjecture, there is no way to know how or when the second phase — dealing with the 11 million — might ever be attempted, let alone resolved.
“Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Florida Senator Marco Rubio each have offered muddy views on the issue. The dodge works so long as Republicans are allowed to remain vague. But Trump just broke the party compact: He got specific.
“It will be difficult for an eventual Republican nominee to navigate Trump’s challenge without alienating either the anti-immigrant cohort that he is energizing or mainstream voters. And it could get worse. What if Trump gets specific on other policies? Taxes. Health care. Retirement security. Climate change. Bombing Iran.
“My Bloomberg View colleague Jonathan Bernstein calls Republicans a ‘post-policy’ party for their reliable reluctance to fashion policies that are structurally sound and politically viable. The key is maintaining a perpetual fog. (Repeal and replace Obamacare! With something. Pass Paul Ryan’s budget! As long as it doesn’t become law.)
“In the greatest irony, Trump has the capacity to exploit the void, forcing vaguer Republican candidates to respond to his specific proposals. He is making immigration a nightmare for Republicans. Other bad dreams could follow.”
SPANISH LANGUAGE COVERAGE
La Opinión/ImpreMedia editorial entitled, “Well-Known Bad Idea On Immigration…The millionaire is reaping what Congress sown”:
“Millionaire Donald Trump is looking more and more like a real presidential candidate, as he has unveiled a more detailed plan on immigration. If there were any lingering doubts about his identification with the GOP ideals, the plan sums up the more reactionary measures that have dominated the debate in Congress.
“The big worry for republicans is that Trump took over the populism in which they have been working for so long. The best example is how the millionaire is exploiting the migratory issue. Congress sowed the seed of what Trump is very skillfully reaping. With this strategy, the millionaire will not win the election because the average U.S. citizen does not share his views on immigration, as well as on other ideas. But it has all the potential to cost the GOP the election”.
Leading Spanish language anchor and pundit, Jorge Ramos, on Twitter:
He tweeted: “Trump is a creation of the Republican party. Many of his ideas have been espoused by other Rs. He just expresses them in an extreme way”
And: “If the Republican Party doesn’t agree with Trump’s idea of deporting 11M, a wall and denying citizenship, then say it. Latinos are waiting”
Column from Maribel Hastings, America’s Voice columnist and senior advisor, entitled “Trump : Scaring away the Latino vote”:
“Although there’s still a year and a half until the general election, we’re only four and a half months out from the primaries and caucuses, and in a field of 17 Republican candidates, the attention remains on Trump and his wild proposals. The only thing that Latino voters are hearing from Republicans is that Trump wants to deport millions, and that includes family, friends, and acquaintances of a large number of Hispanic voters. Trump is scaring away the Latino vote.”
La Opinión/ImpreMedia in a piece entitled, entitled “Trump’s immigration plan: unrealistic, costly and dangerous” (translated by America’s Voice):
“Trump’s plan goes beyond what other Republican candidates have proposed and reminds of the massive ‘repatriations’ during the Great Depression in the first half of the 1930’s.”
Former GOP Florida Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart in a Univision.com piece, entitled, “Donald Trump triggers competition on who’s tougher on immigration” (translated by America’s Voice):
“The level of attention that he (Trump) is getting is such that he is drowning other voices. Every time I turn the TV on all I see is Trump, Trump, Trump.”
A number of Spanish-language headlines cover Trump’s immigration policy as well, including La Opinión with “Massive deportations, enormous costs and economic slowdown,” Noticero Univision, “Donald Trump wants to deny birthright citizenship,” Univision.com, “Remittances: What Trump wants to confiscate and Latin America needs in order to grow,” and Notimex, “Notimex: Trump assures that he will deport immigrants and revoke immigration executive actions.” (Headlines translated by America’s Voice.)
Trump’s proposal is even making international headlines: El Pais from Spain has a piece entitled, “Trump undermines the GOP possibilities to attract the Latino vote,” and El Excelsior from Mexico has a piece entitled, “Donald Trump’s plan to get rid of Mexicans.” (Headlines translated by America’s Voice.)