IM­MI­GRA­TION FUROR:

‘Ma­jor speech’ on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion set for Wed­nes­day

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Sean Sul­li­van

Don­ald Trump’s top al­lies and strate­gists are seek­ing to fur­ther dis­tance him from his call last year for a “de­por­ta­tion force” to ex­pel the na­tion’s es­ti­mated 11 mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

Don­ald Trump’s top al­lies and strate­gists sought on Sun­day to fur­ther dis­tance the pres­i­den­tial hope­ful from his call last year for a “de­por­ta­tion force” to ex­pel the na­tion’s es­ti­mated 11 mil­lion im­mi­grants in the coun­try il­le­gally. But they left a key ques­tion unan­swered: what Trump would do with the im­mi­grants in the U.S. il­le­gally who have not com­mit­ted other crimes in the coun­try.

The ques­tion has taken on in­creased rel­e­vance in re­cent days as Trump has ap­peared to soften the hard- l i ne po­si­tion he adopted dur­ing the Repub­li­can pri­mary cam­paign as he looks to boost his ap­peal among mod­er­ate vot­ers in the gen­eral elec­tion.

Speak­ing on the Sun­day morn­ing news shows, Trump’s sup­port­ers didn’t ad­dress the mat­ter defini­tively. But Trump sig­naled late Sun­day that policy specifics could be on the way, post­ing on Twit­ter that he’d be mak­ing a “ma­jor speech” on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion on Wed­nes­day in Ari­zona. The speech had been set for last week in Colorado, but it was pushed back as Trump and his team wres­tled over the de­tails of his pro­posal.

On Sun­day, the Trump al­lies also fielded ques­tions about his new cam­paign CEO, Stephen Ban­non, who has come un­der scru­tiny over his voter regis­tra­tion sta­tus and rev­e­la­tions that his ex-wife had ac­cused him of anti-Semitic views and that he was charged with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence but not con­victed. In in­ter­views, Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Reince Priebus and Trump cam­paign man­ager Kellyanne Con­way seemed to keep some dis­tance be­tween them­selves and Ban- non.

On im­mi­gra­tion, Con­way said on “Fox News Sun­day” that Trump has not re­cently ad­vo­cated a mass de­por­ta­tion force. “The de­por­ta­tion force, I would like to ad­dress that. He hasn’t men­tioned that since last Novem­ber,” she said.

Trump’s run­ning mate, In­di­ana Gov. Mike Pence, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the idea of a de­por­ta­tion force was a “mech­a­nism, not a policy” and that Trump has re­mained “com­pletely con­sis­tent” on im­mi­gra­tion.

Nei­ther would defini­tively say what Trump would do with im­mi­grants who have not com­mit­ted any crimes since en­ter­ing the coun­try il­le­gally.

“And what he’s said now is that he will look at that. But he wants to look — the soft­en­ing is more ap­proach than policy,” Con­way said when asked about whether he will de­port all im­mi­grants in the U.S. il­le­gally.

Pence said: “I know the me­dia wants to fo­cus on that one is­sue. Don­ald Trump will ar­tic­u­late a policy about how we deal with that pop­u­la­tion.”

In the past week, Trump has seemed open to not de­port­ing im­mi­grants in the U.S. il­le­gally who don’t have crim­i­nal records. But he has not made his po­si­tion on that is­sue ex­plicit.

What Trump has made clear in re­cent days is that he would de­port im­mi­grants in the coun­try il­le­gally who have com­mit­ted cer­tain crimes. He has also said that he would not cre­ate a path to le­gal sta­tus or cit­i­zen­ship for the im­mi­grants and that they would have to leave the U.S. and re­turn in a law­ful way to achieve le­gal sta­tus.

An­other is­sue on which Trump’s po­si­tion has drawn scru­tiny: birthright cit­i­zen­ship, which he vowed to end last year and con­tin­ues on his cam­paign web­site to ad­vo­cate end­ing.

Pence gave a less-thandefini­tive re­sponse to a ques­tion on that mat­ter.

“Well, I think the whole ques­tion of an­chor ba­bies, as it’s known, the whole ques­tion of cit­i­zen­ship, of nat­u­ral-born Amer­i­cans is a sub­ject for the fu­ture,” he said. “I think the Amer­i­can peo­ple ought to ask it.”

Spokes­peo­ple for Trump did not re­spond to a re­quest for comment on his cur­rent view on birthright cit­i­zen­ship.

Priebus said that, on the whole, Trump would lay out a plan that would be tougher than Jeb Bush’s and than the “Gang of Eight” com­pre­hen­sive pro­posal that passed the Se­nate in 2013 but died in the House.

Pressed on whether Trump will call for an end to birthright cit­i­zen­ship, the RNC chair­man said, “You’re go­ing to have to ask him.” As for him­self, Priebus said he is “com­fort­able” with birthright cit­i­zen­ship con­tin­u­ing to be the law.

Asked about Ban­non and Con­way, Priebus re­sponded, “I go with the flow based on what the cam­paign wants to do. I think Kellyanne’s do­ing a phe­nom­e­nal job. I don’t know Steve Ban­non, to tell you the truth, very well. I’m go­ing to get to know him.”

Pressed on what has been al­leged about Ban­non’s back­ground, Priebus re­sponded, “I don’t know how much of it is true or not.”

A spokes­woman for Ban­non de­nied last week that he made the anti-Semitic re­marks that his ex-wife ac­cused him of in a court state­ment.

STEPHEN MATUREN/GETTY

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump has made clear in re­cent days that he would de­port im­mi­grants in the U.S. il­le­gally who have com­mit­ted cer­tain crimes.

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