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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Donald Trump’s immigration vacillation confounds friend and foe alike

If there was any doubt before this week about the importance of the immigration issue in this year’s campaign, Donald Trump’s seeming change of heart on the matter has dispelled it. Ever since Trump hinted that he might be wavering on his get-tough deport ‘em all position, reaction has been fast and furious.

W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner writes, “Is Donald Trump getting ready to flip-flop on his signature political issue? His message on immigration has become hopelessly muddled and some of his TrumpPencestrongest supporters worry he's going soft.

“At some point, a Trump immigration crack-up was inevitable. It's occurring at the moment because the Republican nominee is attempting to alter the perception that he is biased against large groups of American voters.”

In his piece, Antle talks about how Trump is faltering not only with black and Hispanic voters, but also with college educated whites who would normally be inclined to vote Republican but find Trump’s heated rhetoric on immigration to be off-putting and dare I say, “dangerous.”

There are also polls which show a healthy majority of Americans disfavor en masse deportations.

To say Trump has been all over the map lately on the immigration issue is an understatement. Of course when Trump announced his candidacy last year, he drew instant attention by claiming Mexico was only sending us her weakest and most criminal people. Trump’s words generated a severe backlash from liberals and the elites (redundant, I know), but he also created a loyal following from the healthy slice of the American population that’s fed up to the core with the problems associated with open borders.

Obama’s executive amnesty was the last straw as it looked like we would never be rid of the problem. Trump offered what seemed to be a black and white solution, even if the practicality of deporting millions was in question from day one.

Now we’re left wondering exactly where Trump does stand on immigration, because by all appearances, he’s not even sure himself.

Trump’s internal struggle with the issue was on full display during a Wednesday night town hall on Fox’s Hannity show, where the candidate even resorted to polling the audience as to their views on “working with” illegals who have been in the country long-term or rounding them up and deporting them all, which has seemed to be his position all along.

Afterwards, some were even saying Trump’s beginning to sound a lot like the establishment’s default position.

From Reuters, “Trump's new position seemed to resemble in some respects the failed 2007 reform push by former Republican President George W. Bush. That effort offered a way to bring millions ‘out of the shadows’ without amnesty and would have required illegal immigrants to pay a fine and take other steps to gain legal status.”

During a rally, Trump himself said, “Hillary Clinton wants a totally open border so people can just pour in…We are going to enforce our laws, remove people who overstay their visas, dismantle the gangs and cartels, and protect jobs and benefits for hardworking American citizens.”

So…there’s still some deportation involved in Trump’s view but most illegals apparently get to stay and there’s “amnesty” included, even if it’s just legalized status with no citizenship. If I’m not mistaken, that’s John Kasich’s position. Is he going to support Trump now?

The divide in conservative circles over the “new” Trump was amply demonstrated by the Hannity audience’s reaction to the nominee’s questions about whether people who have been here fifteen or twenty years should be allowed to stay. About half the audience appeared to be in favor of letting them remain and “working with them” and the other half was in favor of kicking them all out.

For what it’s worth, Senator Jeff Sessions said he could still back Trump on the issue.

Kelly Cohen of the Washington Examiner reports, “Sen. Jeff Sessions said he is still ready to support Donald Trump's immigration policy, even as the GOP nominee continues to tweak his ideas and faces backlash for softening his stance.

“’The most important thing is to focus first and foremost on a lawful system that protects the interests of the American people first. If you enter the country unlawfully you're subject to being deported. That's just what the law has always been. But we have a large number of people that have been here a very long time,’ the Alabama Republican told ‘Fox and Friends’ Thursday morning.”

Even Jeff Sessions’ words seem to echo Trump’s. If Sessions is okay with Trump’s change of tune, I’m inclined to go along with it too.

As far as the larger issue goes, I’m not a presidential candidate and I know how difficult it is to articulate a position that won’t get someone or some group furious with you, but I can’t help but think the resolution to the problem is easier than politicians make it out to be.

Simply put, the United States government must make it as difficult as possible to enter the country illegally – meaning, border wall and strict enforcement – and then if someone still manages to get here, make it as arduous as necessary for them to stay.

This might include measures such as no birthright citizenship for children born to illegal aliens; some sort of national employment verification system; and lastly, make it extremely hard to conduct business here or send money out of the country without some sort of check on transfers. If the illegal workers can’t send money back to their home countries without some kind of official oversight, that’s a huge disincentive to try and come here without permission in the first place.

Or, how about requiring proof of citizenship to sign up for utility service? No cell phones? No water and power? That would make it pretty challenging for anyone to live here and make money.

It would also force those who are already here to make themselves known and prove they’ve been here for a certain amount of time and make recompense for their illegal status. Whether that involves taxes, fines, etc…is a policy that our congressional representatives must decide. That’s their job. It shouldn’t be left up to a corrupt leftist ideologue like Obama to wave a magic pen and declare everyone safe from the law.

These new restrictions would no doubt make life more difficult for everyone, illegal or otherwise. Technology will help because it’s much simpler to keep track of people these days. But if Trump or anyone in America is truly serious about solving the immense problem of illegal immigration, something drastic must be done…and quickly.

Trump’s right – solving immigration simply isn’t going to get done under Hillary Clinton. He certainly would get something accomplished on the issue, though at present, we’re not exactly sure what that will be.

Cruz supporters dig at Trump over immigration waffle

One group of Republicans who don’t appear as willing as Senator Jeff Sessions to forgive and forget Trump’s apparent change of heart on immigration is Ted Cruz supporters.

The Texas senator and former Trump rival was very consistent on his no-amnesty approach all throughout the GOP primaries and his backers see Trump’s reversal on the issue as the coming to fruition of all their predictions made months ago.

Katie Glueck of Politico reports, “[A]s Ted Cruz eyes his 2018 reelection bid, with some of his supporters holding out hopes for a 2020 presidential run, Cruz world feels vindicated.

“’Everything Trump promises comes with an expiration date,’ said Cruz’s former Senate communications director, Amanda Carpenter. ‘We knew it during the primary, and now it is apparent he has duped his most loyal supporters on the issue they care about most, immigration. Don't say we didn't warn them.’”

Yes, Cruz did alert plenty of people and the legions of Trump supporters heard the warnings and ignored them in favor of choosing the man they saw as the best one to upset the corrupt establishment system in Washington.

As I’ve been saying a lot lately, Cruz was my first choice – by a large margin – in the primaries. If it were up to me we’d be seeing Cruz-Fiorina bumper stickers on many a car. Cruz’s face and logo would be plastered on TV screens all across the land. We would be getting to know wife Heidi and his two cute-as-a-button daughters a lot better.

Compared to the corrupt, haggard and careworn appearances of the Democrat family duo, they’d be awful appealing, wouldn’t they?

But Ted didn’t win and it’s not just because Trump successfully duped everyone into believing he’ something he’s not. Trump won because he convinced Republicans that he was the only one who had the personal standing to challenge the elites and make change.

Cruz would have certainly challenged the elites too, no question. But could he get anything accomplished? It would be a harder sell for Ted, for sure.

I don’t believe Trump’s indecision on immigration merits a victory lap from Cruz or anyone else – at least not yet. I think it reflects a political maneuver that’s designed to help Trump soften his image and give him a better shot to win the election.

Let’s not forget, Trump’s policies aren’t so much a problem for him this year as is his persona and image. Cruz would have had many of the same issues as Trump because the media sharks would have turned him into a monster. Hillary would be calling him “unstable, unpredictable” and “dangerous.” Just like with Trump.

We’re still not quite sure where this Trump flap on immigration is going (Trump claimed on Thursday that his policy will be out in the next week). Until we know, it’s best to just wait and see what happens.

Crooked Hillary objecting to Trump’s moving onto her “turf” with minority voters

With all the talk of Donald Trump’s potential walking back on his promise to deport every single illegal alien, it might have gotten lost in the hubbub that the Republican nominee has been making a very serious pitch of late for not only black votes, but also Hispanic votes.

Seeing Trump trying to talk with her own in-the-tank base has brought a rapid response from Crooked Hillary who clearly has been itching to drag out race as an issue and pin it right to Trump’s chest.

Trump retorted on Thursday during a speech in New Hampshire.

Lisa Hagen of The Hill reports, “Donald Trump ripped Hillary Clinton for playing the race card on Thursday, calling her a bully seeking to distract voters from her own controversies by accusing others of racism...

“The GOP nominee said it is clear Clinton is purposely trying to change the subject from questions about Clinton Foundation donors' access to the State Department when she was in charge there.”

Clinton’s own speech on Thursday was aimed at scaring minority voters away from Trump by making lame attempts to tie him to the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups. It’s the same line of attack Democrats use in every election against Republicans. As I’ve said many times, if Ted Cruz were the nominee…or Jeb Bush or even Ben Carson, they’d still be saying Republicans are all against minorities. It gets old but apparently it works to win elections.

Meanwhile, Trump along with Ben Carson met with a group of black and Hispanic leaders on Thursday morning, just part of the outreach and new focus on appealing to minority voters to try and improve his image across the board.

Politically speaking, Trump’s is a very smart strategy because the Democrats are so heavily dependent on minority voters for viability. Just like a gang leader would, Crooked Hillary is taking offense that Trump is trying to invade her “turf” and so she’s turning the full force of her racist rhetorical guns on Trump.

She’s flashing the Democrat colors and daring people to try and break out of her gang.

I believe Trump’s pivot on immigration has a lot to do with trying to turn a certain percentage of minority votes in his favor. But I also think Trump means it when he says he’s going to try and improve the lives of inner city residents that have been victims of liberal Democrat policies for decades.

Americans see the violence (in news reports) in the cities perpetrated by thugs and criminals, but what they don’t see are the vast majority of people sitting afraid behind barricaded doors in their homes praying desperately that the violence won’t reach them one more night.

When these peoples’ frustration reaches a critical mass they’re going to rise up and reject the Democrat party. Will it be this year? Maybe, maybe not. But with Trump’s willingness to venture into uncharted territory he’s laying the groundwork for future discussions on what needs to be done to help these people have better job prospects, real schools and more personal safety.

It’s an answer that Crooked Hillary can’t provide.

Inner city residents aren’t dumb. Someday they’re going to wake up to the reality…and Democrats are terrified at the prospect.

No sign of icy hearts melting in the Bush family

Finally this week, Donald Trump may win over some of his detractors with his new tone on immigration and other topics, but he’s not about to earn the love of the Bush clan.

Establishment wounds have not healed, that’s for sure.

Nick Gass of Politico reports, “Donald Trump ‘seems to be morphing’ into the very politician he ‘railed against,’ former primary opponent Jeb Bush said Thursday, digging into Trump's latest pivot on immigration, which political observers have noted most closely resembles the former Florida governor's own position on the issue.

“Bush, whose own campaign hands have expressed similar sentiments, remarked that he could not specifically comment on Trump's views because ‘they seem to be ever, ever changing, depending on what crowd he's in front of.’”

As it is with most in the #NeverTrump movement, it must be extremely hard to keep saying the same things about the Republican nominee no matter what he does or says. It’s almost as if they’re blind and deaf – they have no sensory reaction whatsoever…except for maybe anger.

That’s not to say Trump is blameless in all of this. He made it deeply personal with the Bush family and it’s understandable why they wouldn’t want to say anything publicly in support of a man who cut them so deeply.

At the same time, no one’s really paying attention to what the Bush folks have to say. Their time is passed. The Republican Party has moved on from the Bushes, McCains and Romneys. I can’t help but feel the base will never accept another rubberstamp establishment nominee again.

And if there is one, he or she is certain to lose.

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I don't think vacillation is an accurate word

If you only take the "word" of AP, and the "main" stream media to characterize what Trump said...then yes you could consider it "vacillation"...BUT if you listen / read the FULL transcript of what he actually said, you will have a different perspective.

DO NOT TRUST the headlines, the summaries, the spin...

Go to the source.

In this case, the source vs the reports are hardly recognizable

Accommodation ASAP - The Donald must act FIRST

The Donald must atone ASAP.*You have sometimes joined those who have tried to bully Cruzers into capitulating to extortion [a.k.a. "The SCOTUS!"] alas, to no avail.Now, you recall your roots forlornly, correctly, and no one can blame Ted.THEREFORE, The Donald must make the first PUBLIC move towards the 16 people he bested in the primaries [via a reversal of Rush's '08 "Operation Chaos"].He must apologize PROFUSELY and SPECIFICALLY [NOT as he did a week ago, tangentially and generically].He must rescind his personal attacks, he must reach out to unify, he must recognize he needs the base...and he must 'fess-up regarding his failings.*This is the ONLY way to enlist millions of "NOT-TRUMP" conservatives, even if he may not be able to reach the more disillusioned "NEVER-TRUMP" Kristols-of-the-world {notice the distinction with a difference}.