Immigration

Trump's 'Softening' Can't Make His Immigration Stance Popular

Most voters do not agree that unauthorized residents pose an intolerable threat.

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Recent polls indicate that less than a quarter of Americans think the 11 million or so people who live in this country without the government's permission should be forcibly removed. That lack of enthusiasm for mass deportation explains Donald Trump's much-ballyhooed "softening" on immigration, which has produced a mushy mess.

While seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Trump insisted that unauthorized immigrants "have to go," along with their American-born children (who are U.S. citizens), raising the total number of deportees to about 16 million. He said a "deportation force" could get the job done "humanely" within two years.

Although popular among Republican primary voters, that promise was self-evidently insane. Even assuming that Trump would bow to the legal reality that U.S. citizens cannot be deported, removing 11 million people in two years "would mean arresting more than 15,000 people a day on immigration charges, seven days a week, 365 days a year," as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) notes.

Such a project would be a constitutional catastrophe as well as a logistical nightmare. "There is no conceivable mechanism to accomplish the roundup that Trump has promised while respecting basic constitutional rights," the ACLU warns.

Since "undocumented immigrants are not readily identifiable as such," deporting all of them would entail "tactics like suspicionless interrogations and arrests, unjustified and pretextual traffic stops, warrantless searches of workplaces and homes, and door-to-door raids in immigrant neighborhoods." If "practiced on a huge scale throughout the country, those activities would systematically violate the Fourth Amendment."

Whether or not Trump has read the Constitution, we know he reads polls, which show the vast majority of Americans oppose his expulsion plan. "It's a very, very hard thing," he conceded in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity last month, saying even many of his supporters think it's wrong "to take a person who's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out."

In response to such concerns, Trump suggested he would be open to some form of legalization. Although there would be "no citizenship" and "no amnesty as such," he said, if unauthorized residents "pay back taxes," he would be willing to "work with them."

Trump's big immigration speech last week was supposed to clarify what he meant by that. Instead it muddied matters more.

"For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only: to return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else," he said. "Those who have left to seek entry under this new system…will not be awarded surplus visas, but will have to apply for entry under the immigration caps."

That approach, which Trump described as "fair, just, and compassionate," sounds even less generous than the one he outlined a year ago. "We're going to try and bring them back rapidly, the good ones," he said then. "We will expedite it so people can come back in. The good people can come back."

Trump's softening seems more like a hardening, just in time for a general election in which most voters reject his mass deportation scheme, his border wall, and his message that illegal immigrants represent an intolerable threat. Calling Mexico's president "wonderful" and allowing that "there are many illegal immigrants in our country who are good people" (up from "some" last year) probably won't be enough to reassure moderates or get Trump the Latino support he needs.

The polling firm Latino Decisions estimates that Trump needs at least 42 percent of the Hispanic vote to win the election. Mitt Romney, who said he would encourage "self-deportation" by making economic conditions intolerable for unauthorized immigrants, got just 27 percent in 2012, down from 44 percent for George W. Bush in 2004.

Four years ago, Trump himself attributed Romney's poor showing to his "crazy" and "maniacal" stance on immigration, which "sounded as bad as it was." Now Trump seems to think Romney was not crazy enough.

© Copyright 2016 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. I don’t think turnstile jumpers and subway graffiti artists are intolerable threats either. Doesn’t mean society is better off by tolerating it.

    1. So, free helicopter rides for them?

      1. Free helicopter rides for everyone! Wahoo!

    2. Turnstile jumping is theft. I don’t get why my city is willing to lump that in with other minor offenses that the cops don’t want to be bothered with anymore like littering.

  2. Obviously I understand why it didn’t play well with the public, but I always secretly loved Romney’s immigration plan. Leave people alone but cut them off from the government teat? That sounds like a plan to get rid of the useless people, retain the useful, and reduce spending.

    1. Just cut off the government teat

      1. If he said that he wouldn’t have gotten elected…

        1. If he had gotten elected it would not have gotten done.

    2. “Cutting off from the government teat” would last until little Juanita appeared on CBS news cold and hungry, with tears in her large brown eyes and clutching some old cloth barely recognizable as a doll.

  3. The suggestion that deporting illegal aliens is some insane, novel, cruel idea that recently just popped into the heads of people because of Trump is problematic. . . . not that Sullum is saying that here.

    Obama has been deporting some 400,000 illegals a yearr.

    The idea that gaining control of our borders is a radical solution is problematic, too.

    Say these thing to Americans long enough and you lose credibility with the American people.

    Deporting illegals isn’t unpopular.

    Securing the border isn’t generally unpopular either–even if some specific solution is.

    1. Also, though the statement is vague, there seems to be the implication that deportation is un-Constitutional, which is obviously absurd.

      1. I wouldn’t presume to win an argument with Sullum about what’s constitutional, but sometimes woefully unconstitutional things are wildly popular–and deporting illegal aliens and securing the border isn’t unpopular.

        . . . even if building the Berlin Wall on our border and tearing families apart through deportation is unpopular, securing the border and deporting illegal aliens isn’t unpopular.

        Just because Americans want to have their cake doesn’t mean they don’t want to eat it, too.

        1. and tearing families apart through deportation is unpopular

          I think that’s a pretty rare occurrence. After all, children of illegal aliens can leave with their parents, US citizenship or not.

    2. Obama has been deporting some 400,000 illegals a year

      It’s different when the chocolate Jesus Lightbringer does it.

      1. And just for the record, Obama’s average of over 400,000 deportations per year is a dramatic increase from the Bush Administration’s 200,000+.

        http://www.pewresearch.org/fac…..cord-high/

        1. And for the record the way they count deportations was changed just in time for it to appear that Obama is serious about it. Now they are counted as deported if they were turned around at the border, which was never the case before.

          1. Some of the internal ones they double-count, too.
            Turning an illegal over to ICE counts as a deportation as does the ICE act of shipping them home.
            You can only believe this administration’s figures if you believe that you could keep your doctor.

  4. The media just loves any opportunity to suggest that Trump is going soft, since being rigid is his schtick.
    He’s playing the man card

    1. Immigration Viagara, served in some sort of taco bowl, perhaps…

      1. Viagara, where Viagra and Niagara meet and form a huge waterfall of rigid old dicks.

        1. I had just assumed that had something to do with Sophie Vergara.

          1. Just because I can’t spell doesn’t mean I’m not an idiot.

  5. Speaking of intolerable threats

    Greenville police announced Thursday that anyone dressed like a clown and terrorizing residents will face arrest. “It’s illegal. It’s dangerous. It’s inappropriate, and it’s creating community concern, so it needs to stop,” police chief Ken Miller said at a news conference, according to Greenville Online.

    ——-

    “Although it is lawful to dress as a clown, given the heightened tensions about these entertainers, officials are discouraging ‘copycat’ behavior by individuals who may find it humorous to mimic suspicious behavior,” Greensboro police said in a statement issued Tuesday. “Copycats unnecessarily alarm the public and place an unnecessary drain on police resources.”

    “Don’t think you can get away with it just because it’s not illegal. You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a theater, and you can’t wear a red nose and floppy shoes in Greenville.”

    1. What is it that he’s saying is illegal? Dressing like a clown or terrorizing people? Is this a multiple choice question? I wonder if 50% of the population could get this one right?

    2. There it is again. The ‘fire in a theater’ doesn’t mean what they think. And,yeah,you can wear a clown suit and walk around town asshole. What a dick. Just wait till trick or treat night. I foresee a huge pants shitting in this town.

    3. “Don’t think you can get away with it just because it’s not illegal. You can’t yell ‘fire’ in a theater, and you can’t wear a red nose and floppy shoes in Greenville.”

      Telegrams are right out.

  6. I think Johnson’s softening is a bit more cause for concern.

  7. Next Trump article here on The Cosmotarian Journal (formerly known as Reason) is how Trump is still a bigot and shouldn’t be allowed to talk to the colored folk. I mean if we’re going to echo the MSM, let’s get going already.

    1. Sullum’s piece here is a good step in that direction….

      1. They could save time by just cut and pasting every hit piece the WaPo puts out on Trump. There’s many to choose from every day.

        1. All we hear about is Trump’s “softening.” Has Reason bothered to run an article about Hillary’s utter flip-flop on immigration. Not too very long ago, she used to be a loud voice against illegal immigration.

          1. I hear that she was once against super predators and gay marriage.

          2. Has Reason bothered to run an article about Hillary’s utter flip-flop on immigration. Not too very long ago, she used to be a loud voice against illegal immigration.

            Your statement answers itself.

            1. ??? Isn’t this, by definition, a flip-flop?

              1. When the result of the flip-flop aligns with one’s current worldview, why would you point out the glaring inconsistency? The only thing that matters here is, “evolving”, towards being a proper GoodThinkingnik.

              2. It’s been mentioned but apparently Hillary just isn’t as click-bait as The Don.

    2. Needz moar kocktail partiez.

  8. That approach, which Trump described as “fair, just, and compassionate,” sounds even less generous than the one he outlined a year ago.”

    When did libertarians decide that the government is supposed to be “generous”?

    Was a memo circulated internally but not published?

  9. “…unauthorized residents…”

    You mean, “illegal aliens?”

    1. Whoa! You just said a bad word, mister!

      1. Acts can be illegal, but people cannot. It doesn’t really make sense to call a person illegal: a person is a person regardless of his avocations, but when his avocations stray into illegality, he’s not an illegal person but a criminal.

        Therefore the preferred nomenclature should be “criminal aliens.”

        1. Trigger warnings required!

        2. The term refers to an unlawful resident. It seems entirely appropriate.

        3. Great clarification. Now if you can please succinctly clarify how legal resident aliens can now be distinguished from the “criminal aliens” since you have chosen to equate the two.

          Legal residents commit crimes every day, for which they are not apprehended, like the rest of us.

          1. Well IDK, Since we’ve thrown out all remnants of sanity regarding immigration, how about any of these: Wetback, Border Jumper, Berry Picker, FOB, Jabonee, MPFO……..Anything else?

          2. Call them resident aliens?

            In any event, I’m mocking the insistence that we wave away the law-breaking of “illegals” by calling them something different. Call them border scofflaws.

            1. “Resident aliens” is the term for immigrants who are here legally.

          3. Everyone in the USA are criminals by default. But here, we’re specifically referring to the ones who are here without legal status. Get with the program already.

        4. Acts can be illegal, but people cannot.

          It can be illegal for a person to have a certain (lack of) status, or to be in a certain place without permission.

          If someone is squatting in a house, its perfectly cromulent to call them an “illegal resident”.

          Its shorthand for someone who is in this country illegally. Its more accurate than any of the lace-panty euphemisms deployed in its place to describe the exact same people.

          1. See, that’s the point of (superficially) agreeing with the euphemizers and then trotting out a much more inflammatory (and, in my mind, syntactically more satisfying) term. I’m probably going to use criminal immigrant in future conversations simply because it’s bound to piss off the language police.

        5. US immigrant calls these people “illegal aliens”.

          1. US immigration law, not “US immigrant”.

            1. It can, and often is, both.

          2. So does Phil Collins!

        6. Acts can be illegal, but people cannot. It doesn’t really make sense to call a person illegal:

          The act is called “illegal immigration”, and the people who commit it are “illegal immigrants”.

          You might object to “illegal alien”, but meet metonyms and meronyms. Roughly, “illegal alien” means “an alien that is in some (unspecified) way related to illegality”. This could mean many things, but it now specifically means “an alien who is not present in the US legally”.

          Natural language… it’s tricky.

  10. Most voters do not agree that unauthorized residents pose an intolerable threat

    So, if most voters don’t agree that illegal immigrants pose a threat, then that automagically makes it the right position? Is Reason trying to represent populism here? Or just political correctness? Principals not principles? Both? All of the above?

    1. Show us on the doll where the taco touched you.

      1. TACO TACO ENCHILADA BURITO!

    2. If you ask a question in the right way, you get the answer you want.
      Just like they always put all the hoops they claim they are going to make illegals jump through, and throw in a few references to dragging people out of their homes and splitting up families, before they ask if people want to let them stay.
      So, asking if your average person feels that illegals are an intolerable threat, gets the obvious answer.
      Now, if you simply ask if we should enforce the rule of law, you get a different result.

  11. even many of his supporters think it’s wrong “to take a person who’s been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out.”

    I’d say it depends on whether I’m paying taxes to support them – in which case I don’t give a damn how many years they’ve been here or how many kids they have.

    1. Too reasonable. See this line? You’re on this side of it. Gimme half your shit.

    2. Since when is “some people think it’s wrong” a valid argument? Sounds like the bs you get from NPR
      “But some would say that the poor little Mexican matchstick girl shouldn’t be sent back to her country to be raped by gangs”

  12. “Recent polls indicate that less than a quarter of Americans think the 11 million or so people who live in this country without the government’s permission should be forcibly removed.”

    This recent Morning Consult poll says it’s about 46% who say that.

    http://tinyurl.com/ha883ys

    1. To be fair, it looks like wording plays a large part.

      1. Without reading the actual questions, I can imagine a very different response to, say “should not be allowed to remain” v “should be arrested and jailed before being deported”.

  13. Text of Trump’s immigration speech:
    http://dailycaller.com/2016/08…..mmigration

    Take a few minutes to read it directly without having the media spin it for you.

    Excerpts:

    The time has come for a new immigration commission to develop a new set of reforms to our legal immigration system in order to achieve the following goals:

    To keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms.
    To select immigrants based on their likelihood of success in U.S. society, and their ability to be financially self-sufficient. We need a system that serves our needs ? remember, it’s America First.
    To choose immigrants based on merit, skill and proficiency.
    And to establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.
    We want people to come into our country, but they have to come in legally and properly-vetted, and in a manner that serves the national interest.

    1. Take a few minutes to read it directly without having the media spin it for you.

      Yep.

      And take a few seconds to hear Hillary’s utterances directly without having the media spin *them* for you.

    2. Somehow that’s considered completely unreasonable.

    3. Except for the bit abut giving jobs to Americans first to keep wages high, it seems rather unobjectionable.

      And that bit is already part of our immigration system. For certain classes of visa, you have to submit a statement that you are paying market wages to the immigrant, not below market wages, and you have to do postings around your workplace.

  14. “There is no conceivable mechanism to accomplish the roundup that Trump has promised while respecting basic constitutional rights,” the ACLU warns.

    Of course, that “while” horse left the barn long ago.

    1. as always, the ACLU is full of shit.

      Implement “proof of citizenship” requirements for any interaction with a governmental agency. You want benefits….show your ID. No constitutional issues, no roundup, no profiling. But at the end of the day, illegals will find it nearly impossible to function within the society and will leave of their own free will.

      1. Oh, no. That sounds like the cruel self-deportation plan.
        (made to the background sounds of pearls being clutched)

  15. The “Deport US Citizens” troll bait steals several bases.

    The point is that you can deport illegal immigrants even if they have children who are citizens. The kids can go home with mom and dad, or they can stay in the US with some other relative.

    The kids can come back when they are 18.

    We aren’t shoving them out an airlock.

    1. The level of diaper-filling in the objections to Trump’s immigration plan is impressive, no doubt.

      Although my favorite, honestly, is reporting as if it were gospel truth a Latino activist group’s conclusion that Trump has to going to have to pander very hard to Lations to get the required minimum 42% Latino vote .

      1. It’s like when pundits try to give Trump advice, they’re obviously just trying to help him.

      2. As a legal immigrant and naturalized citizen, I have no idea why Democrats believe that I ought to be interested in supporting illegal immigration.

  16. I know the funny part of the pic is what I presume to be a Trump doll? But that hand… looks like a witche’s claw.

  17. Make his plan popular?

    Remind me, who won the GOP primary?

    1. Hillary, apparently. At least, if you ask the #NeverTrump Repub establishment.

    2. Re: Suthenboy,

      Remind me, who won the GOP primary?

      I only know the rest of us lost.

  18. Gary Johnson is chided for taking the long view that immigration is tied to migration. As Harry Browne deduced, a welfare state attracts the poor and repels the rich. A system of free markets and individual liberty needs no wall.

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  20. The Clinton administration deported an average of 1.5 people million each year….it escalated after he passed new immigration laws in 1996 which greatly expanded the grounds for detaining and deporting immigrants, including long-term legal residents, authorizing for the first time fast-track deportation procedures.

    my wife was actually deported in 1999, 2 years after we were married in New York City. Contrary to what most think, the US government does not pay for your trip home. They just notify you that you are being deported and must leave the country within 60 days….but , as with many who are married to an American citizen, they allowed her to re-apply for a visa from her own country. The deportations are often a penalty for filling out the wrong forms or over-staying a visa etc…thus many who enter legally are often “deported” and then allowed to return again with a new visa.

  21. Since “undocumented immigrants are not readily identifiable as such,” deporting all of them would entail “tactics like suspicionless interrogations and arrests, unjustified and pretextual traffic stops, warrantless searches of workplaces and homes, and door-to-door raids in immigrant neighborhoods.” If “practiced on a huge scale throughout the country, those activities would systematically violate the Fourth Amendment.”

    It would be perfectly sufficient to deny driver’s licenses, ID cards, tax returns, financial services, schooling, and social services to illegal immigrants; no 4A violations needed.

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  23. a few years ago Clinton’s stance on immigration was not very different from Trump. She even bragged about her vote to build a wall along the Mexican border. Hillary says that she proudly voted numerous times to “build a barrier” to keep out illegal immigrants. She stated “Mexico is pushing migration north across our border” and says the US needs to “secure our borders” with “physical barriers,” implement “tougher employer sanctions” for hiring illegals and “deport” those who’ve “committed transgressions.” Although this year she has changed her position and now wants amnesty and calls Trump racist for advocating the immigration platform she supported for years.

  24. Phuck polls & phuck pols.

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