Trump wavers on immigration, plans to adopt Obama's deportation policy

Saturday, 27 Aug, 2016

Trump ticked off a series of statistics about crimes committed by some illegal immigrants and vowed that would be stopped under his presidency. He has also promised to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. That said, it's a view Trump fast abandoned. They'll come in legally.

Hispanics overwhelmingly think undocumented immigrants now living in the USA are as honest and hardworking as American citizens (86%), and that they fill jobs that American citizens do not want (79%) and Hispanics are somewhat more likely than white and black Americans to express these views. When pressed, he said the details would need to be worked out with Congress.

"I did", Trump replied.

Speaking to a mostly white audience, he rattled off a list of things they're doing wrong. Just days ago Trump reshuffled his campaign staff as part of an effort to recalibrate his message for the general election, in which his tough stance on immigration may be more of a liability than it was in the Republican primary.

Some Trump fans saw the candidate's move away from mass deportations as an expected and even necessary shift. At a speech today, her campaign says she'll declare trump out of the mai stream, linked to an alt-right political philosophy that embraces extremism. "He has made a lot of people mad". Two officials with knowledge of the Trump campaign's plans confirmed the topic was immigration to the AP. But Trump's insistence that no flip-flop is occurring indicates that the candidate is trying to have it both ways - keeping his base but attracting independents, moderate Republicans and those who simply find Hillary Clinton unpalatable and might stay home on Election Day.

But those watching this race closely say that won't be so easy. Advocates of a more lenient immigration approach say that proves the hard-line position is politically untenable.

Still, Trump's new language seemed to reveal an awareness that his unyielding stance against immigrants is unlikely to get him to the White House, with Latinos voting in growing numbers in key states.

The new national survey, conducted August 9-16 among 2,010 adults, also finds that a large majority (76%) says that undocumented immigrants are as hard-working and honest as USA citizens, while 67% say they are no more likely than citizens to commit serious crimes.

But Trump's "softening" line drew a visceral response.

And regarding the reports of Clinton in her role as secretary of state giving access to those officials who donated to the Clinton Foundation, Trump said, "It's impossible to tell where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins".

"I think he's saying the law needs to be looked at", said Barbara Thomas, a Trump supporter from the Austin area. He ultimately threw his support behind the NY businessman in May.

At a rally in Wednesday evening in Jackson, Mississipi, Trump called Hillary Clinton a "bigot". Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Trump wanted to deport immigrants with criminal records, not all 11 million. "I'm hearing you. But I will say this, if I was an American citizen I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me", Farage said.

So: President Trump would prioritize deporting undocumented immigrants convicted of violent crimes and would be open to "softening" and, maybe, letting others stay.

"Hopefully, he's still gonna consider securing the border", he said, seeming to acknowledge Trump's most recent comments may even throw Trump's border wall into doubt.

Trump met last weekend with a Hispanic advisory council, and this week will meet with a roundtable of African-American and Hispanic fellows with the GOP's Republican Leadership Initiative.

"And I will vote", he added, "so there's only one option".