In the first republican primary debate earlier this month, Donald Trump notoriously announced to Fox moderator Chris Wallace that, “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration.”
At the time, it was fodder for GIFs and the butt of political jokes, but just a few weeks later, that sentiment seems to have shifted the terms of the primary race and the focus of the conversation to a topic many of the Republican candidates desperately wanted to avoid.
Since June, Trump’s policy on immigration has vacillated from one vague idea to another, but this week he put in writing on his website his first position on the matter. It details his ideas to deport undocumented immigrants en masse, seize the remittances they send home, get Mexico to pay for a border wall and abolish birthright citizenship--ideas which have historically idled at the edge of Republican politics.
Trump’s specifics have coincided with yet another jump in his polling numbers, effectively putting his counterparts on notice and forcing them to take positions on immigration reform. That focus is also raising new questions about the future of immigration reform in this country and what could be accomplished under a Republican administration.
Is it a strategic move on Trump’s part? And does it help or hurt the Republican party?
David Fahrenthold, reporter for the Washington Post who’s been covering Donald Trump’s immigration policy
David Carney, CEO, Norway Hill Associates, Inc., a political consultant firm based in New Hampshire. Former political director of the George H.W. Bush White House and was a top political strategist for the Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign
Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director, Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles; He was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003 as the first Chief of the Office of Citizenship within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; he’s also an attorney with the law offices of James G. Roche, offices throughout the U.S. including L.A. and Orange county