Donald Trump: The New GOP Immigration Standard Bearer
Donald Trump’s newly released mass deportation plan might be impossible ever actually carry out — but it’s definitely setting the agenda for the GOP field.
Trump’s plan to remove all undocumented immigrations could cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, according to NBC News. (Then there’s the cost of that giant border wall — but Trump has assured Americans he’ll make Mexico pay for it.)
Most controversially, Trump would end birthright citizenship. This is the constitutional principle, included in the 14th Amendment, which states that children born in the United States are automatically American citizens. Many conservatives would like to see birthright citizenship taken away from the children of undocumented immigrants, which could have the impact of making those people totally stateless.
“You have to get rid of — yes, you have to,” Trump told Chuck Todd in an interview aired Sunday on Meet the Press. “What they’re doing is, they’re having a baby — and then all of a sudden, nobody knows. The baby’s here, you have no choice.”
Trump also mentioned a member of Congress he could work with on this issue and others: Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
In fact, as The Washington Post first reported on Friday, Trump consulted with Sessions, chair of a key subcommittee on immigration, on his immigration proposals.
“I like him,” Trump said. “Tough guy. I like that. We have a similar thought process.”
Sessions, a protectionist who has opposed both free trade deals and immigration, claiming that they lower wages in America, released a statement to the right-wing (and pro-Trump) site Breitbart declaring: “This is exactly the plan America needs. Not only would the plan outlined in this paper work, but more quickly than many realize.”
His statement lays out his case that “for too long, ‘immigration reform’ plans in Washington have served the special interests at the expense of working Americans,” by bringing in cheap labor.
The senator concludes with this fully nationalistic appeal: “Polling shows this plan will appeal broadly to all segments of the electorate: prioritizing the just demands of loyal, everyday Americans who have been shunned by a governing elite.” (Emphasis added.)
Meanwhile, another presidential candidate is seeking to catch up with The Donald — by declaring that he was way ahead of him already on these issues.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker appeared Monday morning on Fox & Friends, and was asked what he thought of Trump’s border plans. “Well, it’s similar to what I brought up about four or five months ago,” Walker said.
In fact, early in the year I was on Fox News Sunday, and laid out what I thought should do, which is secure the border — which means build the wall; have the technology; have the personnel to make sure it’s safe and secure; enforce the law, which I’ve said for some time means enforcing the law making sure we don’t have sanctuary cities, and making sure people are here legally. And I said no amnesty — I don’t believe in amnesty, which I think is similar to what he said. And ultimately said for a legal immigration system, we should give priority to American working families and their wages, in a way that’ll improve the American economy. Those are things very similar to what I said earlier this year on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.
Walker also got caught up Monday in a tricky Q&A with MSNBC reporter Kasie Hunt — leaving viewers not exactly clear on what he thought of birthright citizenship:
KASIE HUNT: Do you think that birthright citizenship should be ended?
SCOTT WALKER: Well, like I said, Harry Reid said it’s not right for this country — I think that’s something we should, yeah, absolutely, going forward —
HUNT: We should end birthright citizenship?
WALKER: Yeah, to me it’s about enforcing the laws in this country. And I’ve been very clear, I think you enforce the laws, and I think it’s important to send a message that we’re going to enforce the laws, no matter how people come here we’re going to enforce the laws in this country.
HUNT: And you should deport the children of people who are illegal immigrants?
WALKER: I didn’t say that — I said you have to enforce the law, which to me is focusing on E-Verify.
A Walker spokeswoman sought to further clarify his position: “We have to enforce the laws, keep people from coming here, enforce E-Verify to stop the jobs magnet, and by addressing the root problems we will end the birthright citizenship problem.”
Screengrab: Meet the Press/CNN