Trump’s “pivot” on immigration policy announced last night is the equivalent of Hillary Clinton deciding she is against college affordability. It’s a flip flop of epic proportions. Even as Trump scrambles to put together cohesive policies that are attractive to more voters, the fact remains that he leaves behind him a string of impossible campaign promises (deportation squads) and divisive comments (Judge Curiel).
Trump hammered Republican rivals Rubio, Cruz and Bush for their immigration positions in the primaries, but yesterday’s messaging sounded more like President Obama’s plan than any Republicans’. Through DAPA* and DACA**, Obama sought to prioritize deportation to the most dangerous criminals, and grant temporary legal status to children born here through no fault of their own and illegal immigrant parents whose children are U.S. citizens. Trump says he wants to obey the existing immigration laws, and be “firm” but “fair.” Sounds familiar.
Finally, Trump’s allegation that Clinton and Obama want “open borders” is a falsehood that needs correcting. I have worked on very complex immigration cases. I immigrated legally. I know first-hand the web of laws and regulations that govern who stays and who leaves, and the vetting process required to be here legally. I have written about the private prisons on our borders that hold women and children who have escaped violence in central America in detention. We do not have open borders.
*DAPA – Deferred Action for Parental Accountability
**DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals