Birth of a Policy Wonk: Trump Gets Into the Weeds on Immigration

While Hillary Clinton hunkers down under a nonstop barrage of email releases, avoiding press conferences while doing a desperate distaff impression of Richard Nixon (“I am not a crook!”), Donald Trump won the daily double on Wednesday, appearing presidential in his visit with President Nieto in Mexico City and then coming back to deliver a substantive speech (almost dizzyingly so) on immigration in Phoenix.


Indeed, I can’t remember a more highly detailed speech on one subject area by a presidential candidate in my lifetime. And we thought Trump was weak on policy. He’s out-wonking the wonks with his ten-point plan on immigration, no matter how you fall out on them.

You could almost call it “Birth of a Policy Wonk” with the onetime gambling plutocrat taking off his gold lamé tuxedo to reveal the tweedy duds of a Johns Hopkins poli sci prof. Well, not quite. Donald will always be Donald and he did roam off prompter a few times, though not far. Still, credit where it’s due. He had a lot to say. (Critics immediately got on the air to ask him to explain more, even though the speech was already an hour and fifteen minutes long. If he had spoken for fifteen hours, they would have asked for thirty. And that’s before George Stephanopoulos gets into it.)

But before examining those ten points, let’s take a step backwards and tip the hat further to Donald for his overall theme—the rule of law. Most of all, Trump wants us to enforce our existing immigration laws. Who’d a thunk it?  Certainly, not Clinton. Enforcing the law is not her long suit. But we know that, so on to the ten points.


ONE—THE WALL: He wants to build the promised wall with the best technology and protection against underground tunnels. No surprise here.  And he still, despite his morning visit south of the border, wants Mexico to pay for it. (Shrieks from the media, but actually this is a giant canard. Illegal aliens send some $25 billion a year in remittances back to Mexico. Start taxing that and Mexico has paid for the wall in no time—without having to say one word to their government.)

TWO—END CATCH-AND-RELEASE:  This alone could change everything.  Why did it ever exist in the first place?  The Obama (and undoubtedly Hillary) endorsed catch-and-release always seemed something out of Orwell. Scratch that—Lewis Carroll.  (“I caught you sneaking across,” said the Mad Hatter. “Now you’re released… Here’s a hundred dollars and a house. And would you like a cup of tea?”) Bravo to Trump for ending it.

THREE—ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CRIMINAL ALIENS: Did you know there were two million of them  inside this country? Are we crazy?  Trump wants to pass Kate’s Law—named for Kate Steinle, the young San Franciscan who was murdered by one of these characters —which imposes severe punishment on illegal alien recidivists. The idea was first proposed by Bill O’Reilly. Trump can count on some positive coverage there to make up for Megyn Kelly.


FOUR—SANCTUARY CITIES ARE OUT:  And good riddance too. Their funds will be blocked if they don’t comply. But will San Francisco have the cash to clean up its poop problem? Trump didn’t say.  (Just kidding, of course, but it is a problem.)

FIVE—UNCONSTITUTIONAL EXECUTIVE ORDERS CANCELED: These are by you-know-who. This is where Trump also said he would enforce all existing immigration laws and add to ICE personnel, etc. to make sure they can be enforced.

SIX—SUSPEND THE ISSUING OF VISAS FROM PLACES WHERE ADEQUATE SCREENING CANNOT OCCUR:  aka the Islamic Middle East.  This is the “extreme vetting” proposal made by Trump in his recent foreign policy speech.  It makes sense but he has not addressed the more complicated issue of Western Europe, where second-generation Muslims are shooting up nightclubs and slicing the necks of priests. Do we withhold visas from France, Belgium, etc.?  Something has to be figured out.

SEVEN—OTHER COUNTRIES MUST TAKE THEIR PEOPLE BACK WHEN WE ORDER THEM DEPORTED:  Donald, the enforcer. He might even be able to make this work.

EIGHT—BIOMETRIC ENTRY-EXIT VISA TRACKING:  This one’s extremely important since half our illegal aliens come in by overstaying their visas, including many of the most dangerous jihadi-types. High time we did this.  Maybe Apple or Google could help. (Yeah, right.)




In all there’s nothing in Trump’s ten proposals with which I disagree. Notably missing is what to do with the eleven million (or whatever the real number is) existing illegal aliens, other than the criminal element that would be immediately sent out. No mass deportations in evidence despite much of the post-speech media coverage, even on the increasingly confused Fox News, focusing on Trump supposedly not softening on immigration.

Trump said we should deal with that population after everyone felt the border was genuinely secure. He implied that could take a while. Again, I concur.  This the humane way to do it. Seal the border tight.  Get rid of the unsavory.  (People who come here illegally and then commit crimes are definitely unsavory.) Then see what our country looks like. Everyone may feel generous at that point.  Ann Coulter may be freaking out, but so what?  She’ll still sell more books than ninety-nine percent of authors.  (Yes, I’m jealous.)  Trump’s approach is just fine.  Cross your fingers (and mark your ballots) so he has a chance to put it into action.


The full text of Trump’s speech is here.

Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His most recent book is—I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already.  You can read an excerpt here. You can see a brief interview about the book with the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal here. You can hear an interview about the book with Mark Levin here. You can order the book here.

(Artwork created using multiple elements.)



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