I've never understood how anyone who is staunchly against rewarding the criminal activity of illegal entry with amnesty can support a candidate who is pro-amnesty.
Trump said Wednesday in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash that as president he would deport all undocumented immigrants and then allow the “good ones” to reenter the country through an “expedited process” and live in the U.S. legally, though not as citizens.
“Legal status,” Trump suggested. “We got to move 'em out, we're going to move 'em back in if they're really good people.”
For a blustering candidate whose rhetoric has snatched headlines and galvanized a sizable segment of the Republican base, Trump's comments Wednesday represent his most detailed explanation into what he would do with the estimated 11-plus million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
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He had previously suggested that he favors a “merit-based system,” but did not delve into his support of granting legal status, but not citizenship to undocumented immigrants he calls “the good ones.”
In 2007, the Los Angeles Times did the first telephone poll of illegal immigrants and asked whether they would go home under a “touchback” law that allowed them to return with legal status. Sixty-three percent said yes, 27% said no and 10% were undecided. If they were promised a path to citizenship when they returned, the number who said they would leave and return legally grew to 85%.
In an editorial, National Review called touchback a “fraud” that gives illegal aliens “their own privileged pathway” ahead of “applicants who have complied with US immigration laws.”
That is precisely what Trump is proposing. Under his plan, illegal aliens don’t have to go to the end of the line behind those who have complied with our immigration laws. They get an “expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal.” They get to cut the line and then stay in America.
So if you get past Trump’s bluster, the plan he is proposing is so liberal that it earned the support of the New York Times and the opposition of National Review.
The reason is simple: Trump’s plan is in fact a form of amnesty — you just have to leave the country briefly to get it.