News & Politics

Is Trump Backtracking on Deporting All Illegal Aliens?

Pedestrians wait in line to enter the U.S. from Mexico in Laredo, Texas, across the Rio Grande from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

There’s been much talk since the staff shakeup of the Trump campaign about a “new” Donald Trump. This Trump is using a teleprompter, stays on message, and talks more about policy than rigged elections.

But at a meeting of his Hispanic Advisory Council, Trump seemed to suggest that he may be looking for a way to deal with illegal immigrants beyond mass deportation.

Trump is expected to address the immigration issue on Thursday.

NBC News:

“If all we got was touchback, I think that would be huge,” Monty said referring to a policy that would require immigrants here illegally to return to their home countries and apply for a visa to return to the U.S. Such a policy was proposed in 2007 and was part of a plan floated by Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, when he served in Congress.

“If all we got was re-examining the three and 10-year bars, even if we got a guest worker program that just allowed for some of the people to take advantage I would be very happy,” he said.

The three- and 10-year bars are part of immigration law that came about in the Bill Clinton administration and prohibit anyone who has been found to have been in the country illegally from returning to the U.S. for three years or 10 years depending on how long they were in this country illegally.

Trump has been slumping in the polls. The latest NBC battleground map shows Clinton surging past Trump in electoral votes.

He has done poorly with Hispanics, hurt from the beginning when he opened his presidential bid by declaring that Mexico sends Mexicans who are rapists and bring crime and drugs. Polls have shown about 80 percent of Latinos opposed him.

Monty said Trump made no sort of apology at the meeting Saturday.

“He did say he wanted to make it clear that he believed that there are bad immigrants that come over and he stands by that,” Monty said. “He said he never intended for people to misinterpret that.”

Jesus Marquez, a Nevada political analyst and Latino outreach strategist, said Trump has asked the group to put something on paper.

“He definitely was seeking input from this group of Latinos in terms of immigration reform. He is expecting for us to lay out points of a future plan for immigration,” Marquez said.

Jose Fuentes, a former attorney general of Puerto Rico, also attended the meeting. He said the meeting was held to replace the event that had been scheduled for Miami before the night club shootings in Orlando.

Asked whether Trump planned to back legalization for the 11 million here illegally, Fuentes said, “the definition of legalization – as you know it is wide, so what does it mean.”

The Trump campaign is denying that any shift in policy is coming. But if not a 180-degree turnabout, perhaps Trump is readying a plan similar to one proposed by vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, where all illegals have to leave but would be eligible for a visa under the same conditions as any other potential immigrant. Or maybe it’s just a change in tone to assuage the feelings of some Hispanics who think the candidate doesn’t much like them.

Trump is losing the Hispanic vote 80-20 in polls, although Pew’s survey shows him receiving about the same level of support from Hispanics as Mitt Romney got in 2012. But is it too late to repair his damaged relations with the Hispanic community?

Never say never in politics, but Trump has a tough job to accomplish in winning over a group that thinks he has insulted and maligned them.