Trump Moves on Amnesty[/caption]
By Roy Beck | Numbers USA
Donald Trump, Scott Walker and Rick Santorum revealed important things about themselves in high-pressure moments this past week, surrounded by the cameras and tape recorders of national media.
Trump on national TV and on the Arizona border stumbled and let himself get boxed into saying he would offer amnesty to the illegal aliens who aren’t the “bad ones.” He seemed to be defensive and trying to prove that he isn’t hostile to immigrants by also indicating he would like to see legal immigration increased.
But Walker — ambushed by an illegal-alien family brought to Iowa to confront him in front of the national press corps — refused to be intimidated, stood strong and unapologetic about the importance of the rule of law, and declined to concede an amnesty..
Rick Santorum in a long interview on PBS also resisted being trapped into talking about immigration issues in the paradigm the mainstream media prefers. Instead, he deftly turned the high-profile TV appearance into an appeal to set immigration policy to benefit workers and poor people.
COMMENTS HAVE (grade) CONSEQUENCES
Our NumbersUSA Grading Team reviewed all grades and comments of the 21 Presidential Hopefuls at the end of the week and demoted Trump in two categories and lowered his overall grade. It was a strange turn of events for Trump who dominated the news all week in his tenacious attempts to stand up for the crime victims of illegal immigration, igniting a national debate about “sanctuary cities” that led to the U.S. House passing a bill to defund such local governments. However, he still has not weighed in on what he would do about interior enforcement policies other than sanctuary cities. Thus, there was not a reason to raise his rating in Interior Enforcement.
Here is a peek at 3 of the 10 category ratings plus the overall Worker-Protection Immigration Grade earned by the three candidates who had entered the week with the three top grades:
HARMFUL — Amnesty Rating
UNHELPFUL — Reducing Legal Immigration
GOOD — Interior Enforcement Rating
C — Overall Immigration Grade
VERY GOOD — Amnesty Rating
VERY GOOD — Reducing Legal Immigration Rating
NO ACTION — Interior Enforcement Rating
B- — Overall Immigration Grade
EXCELLENT– Amnesty Rating
VERY GOOD — Reducing Legal Immigration Rating
GOOD — Interior Enforcement Rating
A– Overall Immigration Grade
At the bottom of this email, I list changed ratings on all the other candidates.
Please remember that no rating or grade is in concrete. It often is up to citizens — especially voters who support candidates for other reasons — to try to educate them and press them to improve their immigration positions.
I’m now going to show you some of the most important new comments from candidates this week. But you can peruse all of them on the 21 separate candidate pages that you can access by clicking on a candidate’s photo on the overall Report Card Grid at www.NumbersUSA.com/2016
The comments upon which we base our ratings all include links to the original news source or candidate websites.
WHAT TRUMP SAID
On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump said he was “a very big believer in the merit system” to “work something out” for “some of these people have been here, they’ve done a good job. You know, in some cases, sadly, they’ve been living under the shadows.”
Nearly all journalists tend to think the most important immigration question is what should be done with the millions of illegal immigrants already in this country. I hope candidates will learn to say, “That’s the wrong question. The right question is what can we do to minimize the harm that having a large illegal population does to the wages of American workers.”
But Trump answered:
“Well, the first thing we do is take the bad ones, of which there are, unfortunately, quite a few. We take the bad ones, and get them the hell out. . . . We have to get the bad ones out. Then the other ones — and I’m a very big believer in merit system. I have to tell you. Because some of these people have been here, they’ve done a good job. You know, in some cases, sadly, they’ve been living under the shadows, etc. etc. We have to do something. So, whether it’s merit or whether it’s whatever, but I’m a believer in the merit system. If somebody’s been outstanding, we try and work something out. But before we do anything, Joe, we have to secure the border….”
Those comments are in line with an earlier report from TMZ.com:
Donald Trump says if he’s elected president, he’d let undocumented workers who are productive stay in the United States, but if they just sponge off the system and don’t contribute … he’d have them deported.
Trump tells TMZ he’d create a “system of merit,” saying people here illegally should have “a road to legal status” if they work hard and contribute to the country.
Trump also says no one really knows how many people are in the U.S. illegally — he cites different stats that show the figure is somewhere between 11 and 30 million. Trumps says it’s unrealistic and inhumane to attempt to deport all of them. Thus, the merit system. He says many undocumented workers are “hardworking people” who deserve a chance to live the American dream.
A Sun Times report from his Arizona visit stated:
During a rally in Arizona on Saturday that drew an estimated 4,000 supporters, Trump said nobody should interpret his comments as being anti-immigration.
“I love legal immigration. I love it,” Trump said. “We should make it easier, and faster.”
WHAT WALKER DID
A pro-amnesty group brought Jose Flores, an illegal alien, and two of his children (a 7-year old and 13-year old, both born in the U.S.) to a Walker campaign stop in Walker’s hometown in Iowa. This is a tactic commonly used in hometown districts of Members of Congress and in the halls of Congress here in the Capitol. The effort often works either in embarrassing the politician or getting the politician to back down from previous anti-amnesty positions.
Knowing the national press corps would be following his every move and statement, the pro-amnesty forces surely thought they could force one of those errors while hammering the governor for being one of 26 who are part of the lawsuit that has stopped Pres. Obama’s 2014 executive amnesty for months now.
The plan backfired on the open-borders activists, though, as many of the media reported that Walker showed attributes of leadership in the way he handled a highly planned ambush by his opposition.
In “Scott Walker tells undocumented worker that immigrants must follow the law” Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post writes:
It was an opportunity for Walker to demonstrate how he calmly fights back against challenges from activists. He was forceful as he told the Flores family that immigrants must follow the rules, but he added, “I completely sympathize with the situation you’re all in and others are in.”
One of the activists, Sam Freeman of Wisconsin’s Voces de la Frontera, cut the governor off and shouted, “So that’s why you want to separate their family?”
Walker curtly said that he wanted to talk only with the family and that their plight is the reason the United States must go forward with “putting in place a logical system.” To address illegal immigration , Walker said, the nation needs to secure the border and enforce its laws before it can focus on other issues. An immigration system cannot come at the cost of American workers and their wages, he added.
“When are you guys going to fix the immigration system?” Flores said. “When are you guys going to take the time to fix immigration reform? So we’ve got to be deported?”
Walker stayed on message, listing his immigration talking points and criticizing Obama for not fixing the system. He also said that he supported the lawsuit Wisconsin filed to stop Obama’s executive action.
“No man or woman is above the law in this country,” Walker said. “That’s the beauty of America.”
Then Luis Flores jumped in: “Do you want me, like, to come home — come from school and my dad get deported?”
“No, that’s not what I’m talking about,” Walker said. “You mentioned Waukesha. I’ve got two nieces who go to school there as well. — I appreciate kids like you and kids like them, so that’s not what my point is. My point is that in America, nobody is above the law.”
The Wall Street Journal filled in other parts of the encounter that made Walker’s steadfastness even more impressive. In “Scott Walker, Confronted by Immigrant in Iowa, Blames Obama for Family’s Uncertainty,” Reid Epstein wrote:
Leslie was with her father, Jose, an undocumented immigrant who works as a painter, and 7-year-old brother Luis — told the dozen or so reporters traveling with the Walker campaign their plight. Jose Flores, 38 years old, came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico 19 years ago.
Leslie had tears welling in her left eye and streaming down her cheek. . . . Young Luis asked Mr. Walker: “Do you want me to come home from school and my dad got deported?”
Mr. Walker said that’s not his plan. “That’s not what I’m talking about,” he said. “My point is that, in America, no one person is above the law. The president can’t make the law just because he says it.”
I didn’t notice any of the mainstream media pointing out the irony that the illegal foreign painter who said he lived in constant fear of being deported had nonetheless traveled to another state to confront a Presidential candidate in front of national media. Obviously, this illegal alien — like most — has no real fear at all that immigration laws might actually be enforced.
WHAT SANTORUM SAID
On the PBS News Hour, Judy Woodruff tried to focus Santorum on the controversy over whether Trump had crossed the line in tying Mexican illegal aliens to rape and drug running.
Santorum quickly said he had stated his disagreement with how Trump had made the connection but that the question of crime and immigration is one that should be discussed. He immediately then indicated that the most important part of the immigration discussion should be about its effect on American workers:
“I’m the only person in this race who’s actually put out a comprehensive plan on immigration control that deals with both illegal and legal immigration.
“And there’s — there are a lot of — again, to me, it goes with, how are we going to create a better opportunity for lower-skilled workers in America. Many of those poor children you’re talking about, who are not going to be able to go to college? How are we going to create the opportunity for them to rise in society?
“And so we have put together not just an economic plan that deals with a whole host of things, including, by the way, increasing the minimum wage, which I’m one of the few Republicans that is in favor of, but also an immigration plan that says let’s quit bringing over a million legal immigrants a year, as well as hundreds of thousands, if not millions illegal immigrants, almost all of whom are unskilled, into this country to compete against the workers right now who see their wages flat-lining and the opportunity for them to rise decreasing in America.
“And so you can look at the immigration issue, and we have, according to the number, 35 million legal and illegal immigrants have come into this country in the last 20 years. That can be a good thing or a bad thing.
“We need to look at it from the standpoint of what’s best for the economy and what’s best for the American worker.”
Unfortunately, Woodruff then said there was no time to discuss that aspect. But Santorum seems committed to raising the jobs issue in every public forum now.
Here’s another fine recent quote by Santorum through the media:
“Since 2000, there have been about 6.5 million net new jobs created in this country. What percentage of those net new jobs are held by people who are in this country but not born in this country? The answer is all of them. There are fewer native-born Americans working today than there was in the year 2000.”
If Santorum could be in any of these upcoming debates, his raising the issue in this way can force other candidates to deal with the issue, too. Fortunately, Walker is also raising the issue, although in much less detail, and seems assured of being included. He needs to be encouraged to talk about it in the debates.
THIS WEEK’S CHANGES IN RATINGS AND GRADES
Besides the three mentioned above, the following candidates said things that caused us to change their Ratings on one or more of the 10 immigration categories we track.
ABYSMAL — Amnesty Rating (changed from Very Harmful)
VERY HARMFUL — Unnecessary Work Visas Rating (changed from Unhelpful)
ABYSMAL — Chain Migration Rating (changed from No Action)
ABYSMAL — Visa Lottery (changed from No Action)
F- — Overall Immigration Grade (changed from D-minus)
GOOD — Interior Enforcement Rating (changed from Mixed)
C- — Overall Immigration Grade (unchanged)
ABYSMAL — Birthright Citizenship Rating (changed from 1st Steps)
D — Overall Immigration Grade (changed from D+)
MIXED — Amnesty Rating (changed from Unhelpful)
C- — Overall Immigration Grade (unchanged)
OTHER RECENT COMMENTS OF INTEREST
Here are a few more comments of interest that we’ve added to the Report Cards this week:
Ben Carson was reported saying that he would remove illegal aliens “from the shadows” and would require them to pay back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. Participants would have to “wait in line” to receive citizenship, Carson said.C- — Carson’s Overall Immigration Grade (unchanged)
In an ad, Huckabee said:
“We’ve got to repeal Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, oppose amnesty, and secure the border. You don’t punish people for living by the rules. If you’re rewarding people who play outside the rules, and punish people who live within the rules, pretty soon nobody is going to play by the rules. By securing the border and protecting American workers and their livelihoods, we’ll finally help every American earn his or her maximum wage.“Kasich had this to say about what to do with the millions of illegal aliens in this country:
“What about the people living next to us that we go to church with? Does it seem right to make them leave? We don’t want to get rid of them, but I think they should pay a penalty for jumping the line.
“… if they’re here (and a child is born on American soil, “I think the baby should be a citizen.”
“Sanctuary cities have to stop protecting felons in the midst of law-abiding people. That has to end and if I’m elected president it will end in a Christie administration.
“We’ve got to penalize employers who hire people who are here illegally. Because the fact is that that shouldn’t happen and it’s exploiting American workers. But in addition to that, it’s exploiting many of those people who are here illegally because they’re being paid less money. So we need to make bigger fines to make sure that those employers who violate the law are being held accountable.”
Grilling an Administration official in a Senate hearing on sanctuary policies, Ted Cruz said:
“There are too many politicians in Washington that talk a good game but don’t act. If you want to honor Josh (Wilkerson), if you want to honor Kate Steinle, start enforcing the law and stop releasing murderers, and rapists, and drunk drivers. … I don’t want to hear from the Obama administration they’re sorry while they continue to do the exact same thing because what we know — more people will be murdered, more people will be raped, more people will be killed by drunk drivers because this Administration refuses to enforce the law. That is wrong. No man is above the law, and that includes President Obama.”C — Cruz’s Overall Immigration Grade (unchanged)
It gets confusing trying to follow all the twists and turns of all these candidates on immigration issues. That’s why we do the big grid of our immigration report cards, so you can quickly get a sense at a glance where each candidate stands in relation to the others on 10 different categories of immigration policy.
It is most important to dig deeper than a few superficial sound bites in the media. Keep track of just what and how much substance lies behind each sound bite.
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