Just hours after his first international diplomacy trip to Mexico, Donald Trump landed in Arizona to deliver a long-anticipated speech on his immigration policies. His white, conservative base has grown wary of the candidate’s softening position on immigration over the past few weeks, noting that Mr. Trump has taken a radical step back from the harsh proposals for which he had advocated in order to secure the Republican nomination leading up to this summer. Questions surrounding Trump’s famed plan to deport, en masse, the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing within the United States as well as other staples of his campaign platform forced the Republican’s campaign to hold a policy-oriented speech on the matter last night in Arizona, a state that has been at the center of America’s immigration debate due to its proximity to Mexico.
However, rather than clarifying the points about which his supporters and many still-undecided American voters were concerned, Trump merely muddied the waters, adding confusion to his platform that has already taken flack for its incoherency and lack of clarity. However, if one thing is for certain, it does not appear that Trump has weakened his immigration policy very much, as some of his critics within the media had argued.
"This election is our last chance to secure the border, stop illegal immigration, and reform our laws to make your life better," said the candidate. The dystopian, fear-instilling rhetoric did not stop there. Trump harped upon the danger of allowing illegal immigrants to remain within the U.S. by referencing a handful of incidents involving violent crimes committed by individuals here without documentation. "Countless Americans who have died in recent years would be alive today if not for the open border policies of this administration and the administration that causes this horrible, horrible thought process, called Hillary Clinton.”
Trump promised to develop a “deportation task force” within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement body that would identify and rapidly remove dangerous criminal illegal aliens residing within the United States. He added that he would raise the ranks of enforcement agents to ensure that they can adequately enforce the laws we currently have in place. And, in what is perhaps the most unpopular and controversial aspect to his policy, Trump has “promised to repeal President Barack Obama's executive orders shielding some younger undocumented people, including those born in the United States - so called Dreamers, from deportation.”
Moving onto the wall. Oh, the wall. That big, beautiful, Mexican-paid-for wall. Well, not quite. Although he promised to construct the “beautiful,” “impenetrable” wall that has been a centerpiece of his campaign, Trump’s conversation with the Mexican president earlier in the day should have convinced the candidate to keep his mouth shut on the matter. "At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall," tweeted Nieto following their conversation. The Trump campaign has claimed that the two did not actually discuss the matter and are awaiting further meetings to address details such as payment. As such, it appears that this has muddied Trump’s immigration plan rather than adding any sort of clarification.
The Clinton campaign issued a statement in response to this debacle. "Donald Trump has made his outlandish policy of forcing Mexico to pay for his giant wall the centerpiece of his campaign. But at the first opportunity to make good on his offensive campaign promises, Trump choked.”
In that same light, Trump did not address the fate of the 11 million illegal immigrants within the United States. As many know, his promise to deport each and every one of them was a major element of his campaign and appeal to white, conservative voters in the primaries. However, his campaign has delivered inconsistent statements on the policy, and Trump was expected to address the matter last night. He did no such thing, leaving pundits to conjecture as to what Trump’s immigration policy will actually look like.
What do you think about Trump’s speech? Was it effective?