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Trump and Immigration: What Do Words Mean?

August 29, 2016
Plain English Version
Trump on immigration

Donald Trump at a rally in Florida

It is becoming hard to know what Donald Trump stands for. He has been clear before now. He wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. He wants to deport the undocumented immigrants in this country. He wants to stop Muslim immigration into the U.S. These issues are the heart of his campaign.

That is, until now. He has changed some of his views. Last week he said he was open to letting some of the undocumented stay. He continued, “No citizenship.  They will pay back taxes. They have to pay taxes. There is no amnesty, but we will work with them.”

This view about the undocumented in the U.S. is close to the view of President Obama. It is also the view of some of Trump’s opponents in the Republican primaries.

Trump’s recent remarks have created confusion for some of his supporters. One supporter said if Trump changes his views on immigration, he would lose people from his base. He said Trump is redefining amnesty. Another commented that the only sin Mr. Trump could commit would be to shift on immigration.

Trump is asking town hall audiences what he should do. Some say, “Throw them out.” Some say “work with them.”

What is going on? Some observers say Trump should not tailor his positions for the audience to whom he is speaking. Trump is trying to find what turns on his crowd and plays to those who make the most noise.

A spokesperson for Trump said he was just “changing” his words. He is not changing his proposals.

Trump has a problem. He may shift his views to get voters from the center. He risks losing his voters from the right.

Source: The New York Times August 25, 2016

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