There’s a good chance that this 10-Point Expect could become completely irrelevant based on what day you ask Donald Trump to give his thoughts on immigration.
(Update 09/01/16: We wrote this about two weeks ago and were left wondering if the 10-Point Expert still stands. Considering his somewhat softening on his immigration platform at his press conference in Mexico, then his complete 180 at his Arizona rally last night, we think our rundown of Donald Trump’s immigration platform is still very much relevant taking account of recent events. – Sumantra)
Donald Trump’s campaign has been all over the place since the very beginning. In many ways, it has been the primary reason for their current campaign death spiral.
The one subject that the Trump campaign has been fairly consistent on has been immigration. Well… that is until recently. Earlier this week Trump has pivoted on the issue of immigration from deporting all undocumented immigrants to only “the bad ones.” So what is Trump’s immigration plan? Let’s try and suss it out in this 10-Point Expert.
Point 1: The building blocks of Trump’s immigration plan has always revolved around taking a very nationalistic stance on immigration. That means an immigration policy that focused on strong border control (ie building a wall on the southern US border and making Mexico pay for it) and stronger restrictions on undocumented immigrants (ie deporting them all).
Point 2: Before we get into the “red meat” of Trump’s immigration plan, we should make a very important point right off the bat. There’s a major distinction in how the US handles issues of national security and immigration. It’s an important distinction to make because it changes the classification of people that would be allowed in the US. Generally speaking, the US is more lenient on those wanting to temporarily visit the US versus someone who wants to immigrate here. For example, someone who would be approved for a tourist visa, may not be eligible to actually immigrate to the US. Trump’s immigration policy thus far has blurred that distinction.
Point 3: For months now the words “extreme vetting” has been continually used by Donald Trump when describing how his administration would choose individuals in entering the US. What does “extreme vetting” exactly mean? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Your guess is good as ours, but he wants this process to be put on anyone entering the US.
Point 4: That would mean it would apply to an individual whether you’re an immigrant, student, or just a tourist. Unlike his other policy ideas, which we’ll highlight in a bit, this is something that’s closer to national security than immigration. Once again, the blurring of lines between immigration policy and national security has become a normal in Trump’s talk of immigration.
Point 5: One of the biggest ideas that he floated out last week was the use of “ideological screening test” for anyone wanting to permanently immigrate to the US. Once again, what would the “ideological screening test” pertain? ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Point 6: Current immigration policy dictates that only “suitable” people immigrate to the US. Trump’s speeches throughout his presidential run looked to extend that idea by being more about wanting immigrants to assimilate into this country rather than having them come here purely based on occupational reasons. Fundamentally it’s a different approach to immigration reform that would be going against decades of immigration policies considering the ideological screening test was taken out towards the tail end of the Cold War.
Point 7: In recent interviews, Trump has alluded to the fact that in certain cases he would revoke citizenship status; even mentioning Seddique Mateen, the father of Omar Mateen who shot and killed 49 people at an Orlando night club in June. For months now Trump has made mention that he would want to change the US citizenship process making it easier to “edit” (ie revoke) the near permanent status that it currently provides.
Point 8: Trump and many of his supporters have also questioned the 14th Amendment which grants naturalization for all persons born in the US. He has alluded to in multiple rallies that a revaluation of the 14th Amendment would be needed due to his perception that many undocumented immigrants use the amendment as a loophole for citizenship. (Spoiler, they totally don’t!)
Point 9: Now with all that said, the Trump campaign has anointed this week “Immigration Week.” What does that actually mean? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ According to the Trump campaign, that means he’s taking a softer stance on many immigration issues. This looks to range from taking private meetings with Hispanic leaders to the rumor that the campaign will be presenting a new plan that would grant immigrants legal status without citizenship.
Point 10: For Donald Trump, immigration policy isn’t just AN issue in his campaign, it’s THE issue of his campaign. His success in the GOP primaries fundamentally came with his hardline stances on immigration policy. So this leads to the million-dollar question; what happens to Donald Trump’s core supporters when he softens his stance on immigration? Because currently the Trump campaign is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to his recent “change of heart” on the issue. On one hand, Trump’s continued hardline stance on immigration was alienating both independents and minority voting blocs, his campaign had to pivot on the issue for this presidential race to remain relevant. On the other, it isn’t hard to see how core Trump supporters might feel burned by his softened approach to immigration. In other words, Trump’s immigration policy can be perfectly summed up by one simple emoji. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
(Photo Credit: Donald Trump’s Instagram, Google Images)