Donald Trump’s immigration policy never made any sense, but at least until two weeks ago it had its own kind of nightmare consistency. Trump was going to build a giant wall and force the Mexicans to pay for it, create a vast and powerful “deportation force,” round up roughly 11 million undocumented Americans, put them over said wall, and definitely block the entry of anyone who was Muslim.
This plan was never great on the details. How do you get Mexico to pay for a horror that they don’t want, and which would cost something like the global GDP? Was he planning to send immigrants back through doors, or a build a giant slingshot? And perhaps most importantly, just what color are the uniforms of this deportation force: brown or black? Do little lapel tab skulls come in gold? If yes—then black. Definitely black.
These items haven’t just been part of Donald Trump’s policy list, they’ve been his policy. These are the punch lines, the lines that draw hate-fueled screams of approval from his audience. The ugly fuel of his campaign. Trump’s greatest hit is “they’re murderers, they’re rapists.” The Republican National Convention featured not one, but three grieving families telling the story of how their loved one had been killed by a horrible immigrant.
Deport them all. Build the wall. Keep them out. It was ugly, racist, religionist, and just plain foolish. But at least it didn’t change in any given 15-minute period.
Except now Donald Trump has changed his policy to … nobody knows. Especially not Trump.
In an interview Tuesday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump acknowledged that he’d be open to “softening” some of his immigration policies, while reassuring supporters of his commitment to deporting undocumented immigrants. On Wednesday, the GOP nominee seemingly shifted again, denying that he’d be open to legalization but saying of undocumented immigrants, “there's no amnesty, but we work with them.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s spokesperson Katrina Pierson provides her own bullet-necklace clarification by saying that Trump hasn’t …
"changed his position on immigration, he's just changed the words he's saying."
Which is exactly what the Trump campaign hopes his dead-enders will believe.
What Donald Trump seems to be aiming for isn’t so much a pivot as a cloud. If on the one hand he can convince the people outside the build-that-wall chant that what he’s really after is just as cruel and heartless as ever, while convincing at least a handful of others of the softening, then perhaps Trump can capture 2 percent, maybe even 3 percent of the minority voters with his cheery you’re poor, you’re pitiful, what have you got to lose “outreach.”
Meanwhile, not that he’s actually met with a handful of genuine minority-type people, Trump is completely sympatico. So he’s able to explain who really has a problem.
At Wednesday's rally, Trump also continued his attacks on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, whom he blasted as a “bigot.”
“Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future,” Trump said. “Her push for open borders will lower the wages and kill the jobs of lawful American residents.”
Sure. Hillary has been working closely with minority groups for decades and deeply involved in issues of civil rights and violence against minorities. What a shallow ploy those thousands of hours of work and years of building friendships have been!
Donald Trump has talked to brown people right in his own office twice. That’s twice. Start reserving the last Monday in January now, so Trump can be celebrated during the week following Dr. King.