Even Republicans Don't Support Donald Trump's Call to Deport Millions of Illegal Immigrants

Trump's nativist stance is hitting a nerve, but it's not connected to electoral or economic reality.


Todd Krainin, Reason

So leading Republican candidate Donald Trump has released his first campaign white paper and it's all about his immigration plan (read Robby Soave's take here).

His three core principles?

1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.

2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.

3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

He reiterated these points on an interview yesterday aboard his private jet with Meet The Press's Chuck Todd, stressing his love of the Mexicans he famously denounced as crime- and rape-prone, that he would get the Mexican government to pay for the wall, and that there was no alternative to deporting all illegals in the country. The good ones, he said, could come back in after vetting. Kids who are U.S. citizens and whose parents are illegal wouldn't be separated—they can just move out with their parents.

The white paper underscores Trump's support for all sorts of surveillance-state measures that are implied by such a policy. He wants to triple the number of ICE agents responsible for keeping illegals out, he will speed up and mandate E-Verify, a program that will force all employers to vet prospective hires through a government database, and he wants the feds to "cooperate with local gang task forces," among other things. This is all being done in the name of being a nation of laws, of course. If we're already commiting three felonies a day, just wait until you start adding on additional crimes related to giving aid and comfort to Mexicans.

I'm old enough to remember when conservatives and Republicans were flipped out by surveillance-state measures such as E-Verify and large numbers of immigration cops asking folks for their papers (remember, if immigrants need to show papers, then we all do). Immigration hysteria is where such worries go to die. A vast and always beefed-up bureaucracy that will have control over whether you can work and when you need to show proof of U.S. citizenship is preferable to living in a country with a limited government. Because, you know, Mexicans. And keep in mind that it's often the very same people who complain that the government can't do ANYTHING right and who hate racial bean-counters that are expecting the government to secure thousands of miles of border while also perfectly titrating the exact ethnic and professional makeup of the U.S. population. 

Let's forget simple facts like the reality that immigrants, especially illegals, go to where unemployment is lowest; that immigration, whether legal or not, is a boon to the larger economy; that illegals are already barred from virtually all sorts of budget-busting welfare and that they commit crimes at lower rates than native-born folks. Here's a thought experiment: Imagine the parts of the country that are worst-off economically. Now go check out whether they are destinations for migrants of any kind, whether legal, illegal, or from other parts of the United States. Without exception, you will find that the hardest-luck parts of the nation are those without high levels of in-migration. 

And let's not even bother with the moral case that individuals should have the right to move where they want. You don't have to hire them and you don't have to give them candy, but FFS is there a more basic human right than freedom of movement?

Perhaps anti-immigrationists in the conservative and Republican movements can be swayed by the idea that being anti-immigrant is unpopular, even among Republicans. Writing in The New York Post, a paper founded by the immigrant bastard Alexander Hamilton, Republican strategist Liz Mair marshalls a strong pile of evidence that giving illegals a path to legal status ("amnesty!") is kinda big among Republicans. To wit:

…a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted July 26-30…showed 53 percent of Republicans surveyed support "amnesty" as it's defined by anti-immigration groups like FAIR, NumbersUSA and the Center for Immigration Studies: 36 percent support a pathway to citizenship itself, and 17 percent prefer a pathway to legal status. A minority, albeit a significant one — 43 percent — supports identification and deportation of unauthorized immigrants.

A Pew Research Center poll from early June 2015 shows that 56 percent of Republicans support allowing unauthorized immigrants a pathway to staying in the country.

A CNN/ORC poll last year showed that 72 percent of Republicans favor allowing unauthorized immigrants to stay and become eligible for citizenship.

A Public Religion Research Institute poll from June 2014 shows that 51 percent of Republicans support a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

Read the whole thing here.

Trump is this early electoral season's phenomenon, no doubt about it. But his anti-immigration stances—which are not so different than Bernie Sanders, incidentally—aren't just far from popular with Americans. They are not even popular with Republicans.

Which is kind of interesting and well worth noting.

It is also apparently lost on most of the other Republican candidates, who are doggedly trying to follow in his footsteps when it comes to immigration:

What's most worrisome is that other candidates who are more likely to actually succeed in 2016 will try to win over Trump's…supporters by co-opting [his] Fortress America mentality. All of the GOP contenders except Jeb Bush have called for some type of impenetrable border with Mexico as a precondition for discussing any changes in immigration numbers. By and large, they have also signed on to mandatory use of E-Verify, a national database that would effectively turn work into a government-granted privilege while increasing the reach of the surveillance state.

Related: Read Robby Soave's take on Trump's plan, which calls for at least 10,000 new federal agents.