The general-election Donald Trump who’s kinder and gentler on immigration doesn’t exist ― and most likely never did.
The Republican presidential nominee firmly shot down speculation on Wednesday that he may be open to legal status for undocumented immigrants, vowing that “no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement.”
“Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation,” Trump said during what he billed as a major policy speech in Phoenix. “That is what it means to have laws and to have a country. Otherwise we don’t have a country.”
Trump, who has made immigration a centerpiece of his campaign, has been under increasing pressure to explain what he thinks should be done about the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., particularly those who aren’t criminals or security threats. His remarks over the past two weeks have seemed contradictory ― is he “softening” on deportations, as he said last Tuesday? Or is he “hardening,” as he said two days later?
He made clear on Wednesday that he wasn’t much concerned with how his policies would affect those undocumented immigrants.
So much for a kinder, gentler message on immigration. It’s easy to throw red meat at the “show me your papers” state, Arizona. He was much meeker while in Mexico.