Donald Trump, the run-away leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, rolled out his plan this weekend to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, including 2.5 million in California, if elected to the nation's highest office.
For those who have a problem following the free-associated thoughts of the New York billionaire, he published his first formal position paper (pdf) on a subject that has netted him almost as much publicity as comments about Fox News host Megyn Kelly bleeding from her eyes “and whatever.”
Although Trump’s blueprint on immigration doesn’t explicitly call for all undocumented immigrants to be deported, he reiterated his demand, on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, that they “have to go.”
Trump wants to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, make Mexico pay for it under threat of tariffs, triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, end birthright citizenship guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, require the hiring of U.S. citizens before legal immigrants (like those on H-1B visas), increase standards for legal immigration and take a break from issuing green cards to immigrants.
All illegal immigrants caught crossing the border would be immediately sent home. Same goes for the tens of thousands with criminal convictions who are not incarcerated. Federal grants for sanctuary cities would be ended. Trump uses the derogatory term “aliens” 12 times to describe undocumented immigrants in his short manifesto.
The hotel and casino magnate acknowledged that the cost of implementing his policy would be prohibitive if there weren’t someone other than the American taxpayer to pick up the tab. “The Mexican government has taken the United States to the cleaners,” he wrote. “They are responsible for this problem, and they must help pay to clean it up.”
It is a message he has taken to the masses enthusiastically for months and it has catapulted him to the front of the thundering herd of 17 GOP presidential hopefuls. The latest poll from Fox News, where the candidates debated two weeks ago, had Trump the clear leader with 25% of the vote. Some skeptics have opined that he had topped out by scooping up every vote of the base’s most outrageous characters.
But African American neurosurgeon Ben Carson, often seen as vying with Mike Huckabee for the basest of the base, finished a strong second at 12%. Ted Cruz was third at 10%. Supporters of those candidates seem more likely to appreciate Trump than the fourth-place finisher, Jeb Bush (9%). Huckabee was fifth, at 6%.
Trump’s immigration paper codifies his principles and conveys his general attitude about the issue. But it lacks the heart of his unbridled public statements, the ones that speak directly to core feelings conservatives have about “us” and “them” while bypassing the impracticality and inhumanity of the proposals.
• “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
• “Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.”
• “I’m leading in the Hispanic vote, and I’m going to win the Hispanic vote. I’m also leading in the regular vote.”
• “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
• “Our great African American President hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!”
• “I have black guys counting my money! I hate it. . . . The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yamakas every day.”