Donald Trump threatens amnesty yet again (60 Minutes, transition 2017)

Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to legalize millions of illegal aliens. He did it before he was elected and now at least twice after being elected.

Those who voted for Trump have inflicted on the U.S. a President Trump who isn't all that different from Hillary Clinton on the issue. Sure, she would have tried to legalize more illegal aliens quicker, but there really isn't much difference if 10 million illegal aliens are legalized within a year or 8 million are legalized within a few years. What makes the Trump situation much worse is that his plans will face less resistance. Trump's supporters will enable him as they've done for the past two years. If President Hillary tried the same thing, they'd call it "amnesty" and fight it tooth and nail. When President Trump does something similar, they'll invent one creative excuse after another. They'll smear those who want Trump to be better on the issue. They'll grasp at any straw to keep from admitting they messed up.

The patriotic thing for them to do would be to pressure Trump to oppose mass legalization, but Trump supporters aren't patriotic enough to do that. They'll stick with Trump even as he does to them what Hillary would have done to them.

On tonight's 60 Minutes, Trump says this:

"What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate... But we're getting them out of our country, they're here illegally... After the border is secure and after everything gets normalized, we're going to make a determination on the people that they're talking about who are terrific people, they're terrific people but we are gonna make a determination at that... But before we make that's very important, we are going to secure our border."

For those who don't follow this issue closely, that's just a tarted-up version of various other immigration plans. For instance, the "Gang of Eight" amnesty bill of 2013 - pushed by Marco Rubio, John McCain, Chuck Schumer, and others - likewise promised to only conduct mass legalization after the border is secure. The amnesty plan from Trump VP Mike Pence had a similar "secure the border, then mass legalization" provision. As did plans from George W Bush, Barack Obama, and others. See the Secure the Border page for how politicians have used such proposals to distract people.

In Trump's case, he wants his followers to concentrate on the supposed 2 to 3 million criminal aliens he'll deport, while ignoring the fact that there would be eight to ten million (or more) illegal aliens remaining in the U.S.

Not only that, but Trump is backtracking on building a physical wall all along the border. From 60 Minutes:

Trump also told "60 Minutes" that the border wall, which was one of the centerpieces of his campaign platform, could be part wall and "some fencing," in accordance with what congressional Republicans have proposed. "For certain areas I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate," he said. "I'm very good at this, it's called construction."

Needless to say, the "Gang of Eight" bill promised fencing too. Like Trump, it also promised sanctions against countries that refuse to take the deported back. Will Trump continue to follow its lead and propose a Blue Card, a Southern Border Security Commission, or a Border Oversight Task Force?

Not only did Trump say these things in the 60 Minutes interview, but right at the top of his transition website's immigration section [2], there's this Trump quote from August 31, 2016:

In several years, when we have accomplished all of our enforcement goals - and truly ended illegal immigration for good, including the construction of a great wall, and the establishment of our new lawful immigration system - then and only then will we be in a position to consider the appropriate disposition of those who remain. That discussion can only take place in an atmosphere in which illegal immigration is a memory of the past, allowing us to weigh the different options available based on the new circumstances at the time.

The problem is that Trump doesn't really understand everything that's involved in the immigration issue. He has no internalized intellectual opposition to massive or illegal immigration. He just latched onto the issue because he knew it would be popular. As a result, he'll be easily swayed by his advisors, almost all of whom are pro-amnesty. Kellyanne Conway was paid by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook to deceive in support of amnesty. Newt Gingrich, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and others in Trump's inner circle have all promoted amnesty in the past. Trump also knows that he can use and abuse his followers at will: they have nowhere else to turn.

What Trump supporters and Trump's anti-amnesty opponents should do is demand that Trump just supports attrition. We'd increase immigration enforcement and reduce non-emergency benefits to illegal aliens in order to encourage most illegal aliens to return home on their own. Unfortunately, doing that would require a level of intellectual work and patriotism that neither Trump nor his supporters have shown so far.

[2] greatagain . gov/policy/immigration.html