Trump re­treats from vow to de­port all liv­ing in US il­le­gally

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

PHOENIX — Don­ald Trump is re­treat­ing from his vow to de­port the na­tion’s en­tire pop­u­la­tion of peo­ple liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally, even as he sticks with an ag­gres­sive tone on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and re­mains com­mit­ted to build­ing a phys­i­cal wall along the US bor­der with Mexico.

The Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent promised on Wed­nes­day to re­move mil­lions of peo­ple liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally if elected pres­i­dent, warn­ing that fail­ure to do so would jeop­ar­dise the “well-be­ing of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

“Any­one who has en­tered the United States il­le­gally is sub­ject to de­por­ta­tion,” Trump said in a highly an­tic­i­pated speech, which took place mere hours af­ter his sur­prise meet­ing with Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent En­rique Peña Ni­eto in his first trip abroad as the GOP nom­i­nee.

But the bil­lion­aire New Yorker also said the ef­fort of a pro­posed im­mi­gra­tion task force in a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion would fo­cus on re­mov­ing crim­i­nals, peo­ple who have over­stayed their visas and other im­me­di­ate se­cu­rity threats.

Left unan­swered by Trump was: What would hap­pen to those who have not com­mit­ted crimes be­yond their im­mi­gra­tion of­fences?

Aimed at end­ing weeks of con­fu­sion over just where he stands on im­mi­gra­tion, Trump’s fiery speech was filled with ap­plause lines for his loyal sup­port­ers.

Any per­son liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally who is ar­rested “for any crime what­so­ever,” he said, will im­me­di­ately be placed into de­por­ta­tion pro­ceed­ings. “There will be no amnesty,” he added, say­ing im­mi­grants in the coun­try with­out per­mis­sion who wish to seek le­gal sta­tus or cit­i­zen­ship must re­turn to their home coun­tries in or­der to do so.

But there was no direct men­tion of a core prom­ise of his pri­mary cam­paign — to cre­ate a “de­por­ta­tion force” that would re­move all of the es­ti­mated 11 mil­lion im­mi­grants liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally.

Trump in­stead re­peated the stan­dard Repub­li­can talk­ing point that only af­ter se­cur­ing the bor­der can a dis­cus­sion be­gin to take place about all such im­mi­grants, duck­ing the ma­jor ques­tion that has frus­trated past con­gres­sional at­tempts at re­mak­ing the na­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion laws.

That omis­sion didn’t bother Dan Stein, who leads the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form, a group that pushes for stricter im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies. He called Trump’s speech the out­line of “a co­her­ent and work­able strat­egy”.

“But even more im­por­tant than the details of the plan it­self,” Stein said, “Trump laid out the most fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple for true im­mi­gra­tion re­form: The pol­icy ex­ists to pro­tect and serve ‘the well-be­ing of the Amer­i­can peo­ple,’ and ‘pro­tect all as­pects of Amer­i­can life’.”

Crit­ics, mean­while, said Trump’s gloss­ing over the fate of peo­ple who are peace­fully liv­ing in the US with­out per­mis­sion doesn’t make up for his over­all ap­proach. “It is still the most ex­treme po­si­tion of any modern pres­i­den­tial can­di­date,” said Frank Sharry, a lead­ing im­mi­gra­tion ad­vo­cate. “It is deeply un­pop­u­lar with vot­ers, and pro­foundly un-Amer­i­can.”

Even as he beat a re­treat from his ear­lier pledge to de­port all il­le­gal im­mi­grants from the coun­try, Trump’s ag­gres­sive tone in Phoenix marked a shift from ear­lier in the day. A much more mea­sured Trump de­scribed Mex­i­cans as “amaz­ing peo­ple” as he ap­peared along­side Peña Ni­eto in Mexico’s cap­i­tal city.

The good feel­ings from his first meet­ing with a head of state as his party’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee lasted only a short time, as a dis­pute arose in the hours af­ter he left Mexico City over the most con­tentious part of the bil­lion­aire’s plans to fight il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion — his in­sis­tence that Mexico must pay to build a phys­i­cal wall along the roughly 3 200-km US south­ern bor­der.

Trump told re­porters dur­ing his af­ter­noon ap­pear­ance with Peña Ni­eto that the two men didn’t dis­cuss who would pay for a cost of con­struc­tion pegged in the bil­lions. Si­lent at that mo­ment, Peña Ni­eto later tweeted, “I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall.”

With the meet­ing held be­hind closed doors, it was im­pos­si­ble to know who was telling the truth.

Trump told the rowdy Ari­zona crowd that he re­spects the Mex­i­can pres­i­dent. “We agreed on the im­por­tance of end­ing the il­le­gal flow of drugs, cash, guns and peo­ple across our bor­der and to put the car­tels out of busi­ness,” he said.

Yet, stand­ing on Amer­i­can soil, he ad­dressed di­rectly a ques­tion he sidestepped when asked in Mexico. — AP

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