Though Donald Trump hammered Hillary Clinton Tuesday for her commitment to continue and expand the open borders agenda of President Obama, he also hinted at a certain “softening” of his own immigration plan.
“Hillary Clinton wants a totally open border. She wants catch and release. She wants Obamacare and other things for illegal immigrants. In many cases, more than our great veterans get,” Trump said at a rally in Austin, Texas.
“There could certainly can be a softening because we’re not looking to hurt people.”
“She has said she’s going to give massive amnesty in her first 100 days. She wants to gut immigration enforcement. The immigration people do such a great job, but they have no leadership at the top,” he said.
But later that night, the GOP nominee made some of his supporters nervous on one of his key issues.
Trump appeared in a televised town hall on Fox News’ “Hannity,” where he appeared to suggest he was open to “softening” laws against illegal aliens.
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“There could certainly can be a softening because we’re not looking to hurt people,” Trump answered when Hannity asked whether he’d be open to amending the law for “law-abiding” illegal aliens who have been in the country for a while.
“We want people — we have some great people in this country,” Trump said. “We have some great, great people in this country but we’re going to follow the laws of this country and what people don’t realize — we have very, very strong laws,” he told Hannity.
The openness to a softened Trump stance on one of his major issues seemed to worry some supporters about a possible significant reversal of Trump’s prior pledges. As recently as last month, Trump was promising to deport every last illegal immigrant in America.
“I don’t know why he said that, it’s crazy!” Anne Coulter told Chris Matthews following the town hall. If Trump really is flip-flopping on this issue, it could keep his strongest supporters from going to the polls in November. He cannot “soften” too much lest he lose the credibility he earned from anti-immigration die-hards.
What Trump could do immediately however is clarify what he meant. Even the most ardent opponents of illegal immigration in Congress have never advocated the costly prospect of mass deportation as the first priority of restoring law and order to the broken system.
Immigration thought-leaders like Sen. Jeff Sessions have long advocated a secure border, rigorously enforced deportations of criminal aliens, and enforced penalties for employers who hire illegals as the top priorities ahead of mass deportation.
Trump’s “pivot” may indeed just be a refocusing on those priorities. Indeed, participating in the town hall were the mothers of those killed by illegal aliens. Trump promised them he would put an end to the policies which permitted such senseless, avoidable loss.
“All we can say, because the loss is beyond anything we can even think of — so all we can say is that they will not have died in vain because we won’t let it happen to others,” Trump told Hannity.