Donald Trump’s speech on immigration is expected to outline the GOP presidential nominee’s policy on immigration. But Trump has already tested out his anti-immigrant positions with favorable right-wing media outlets, and the positions are based on false, xenophobic rhetoric pushed by many of the same conservative media outlets for years.
Donald Trump To Give Major Speech On Immigration
Donald Trump “Plans To Make A ‘Major Speech’ On Immigration During His Stop In Arizona On Wednesday.” Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he would make a “major speech” on immigration policy during a campaign stop in Arizona on Wednesday August 31:
Donald Trump said Sunday night he plans to make a “major speech” on immigration during his stop in Arizona on Wednesday.
“I will be making a major speech on ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION on Wednesday in the GREAT State of Arizona. Big crowds, looking for a larger venue,” Trump's tweet said. [CNN.com, 8/28/16]
Trump’s Likely Immigration Proposals Have Been Promoted In Right-Wing Media For Years
Trump Told Breitbart News That He Does Not Support San Francisco’s “Sanctuary Status” For Undocumented Immigrants. In an interview with Breitbart News, Trump told Matthew Boyle that “[s]anctuary cities are a disaster” and that “[t]hey’re a safe-haven for criminals and people that should not have a safe-haven in many cases.” Boyle noted that Trump “told Breitbart News that he is shocked that San Francisco’s local government would entertain the possibility of expanding its sanctuary status for illegal aliens after what happened to Kate Steinle":
Donald J. Trump, the billionaire businessman and presumptive 2016 GOP presidential nominee, told Breitbart News that he is shocked that San Francisco’s local government would entertain the possibility of expanding its sanctuary status for illegal aliens after what happened to Kate Steinle last year.
“Sanctuary cities are a disaster,” Trump said when questioned. “They’re a safe-haven for criminals and people that should not have a safe-haven in many cases. It’s just unacceptable. We’ll be looking at sanctuary cities very hard.”
Trump has repeatedly honed in on sanctuary cities—and specifically the Steinle murder—throughout the course of his campaign. [Breitbart News, 5/16/16]
For Over A Year, Fox News Has Argued That Sanctuary Cities Violate Federal Law. Fox News hosts have repeatedly claimed that sanctuary cities are “breaking the law” because they do not “assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law,” and argued that sanctuary cities “decided to ignore federal law and house” undocumented immigrants. [Media Matters, 7/7/15]
Border Wall With Mexico
Trump To Sean Hannity: “I Would Say” The Wall “Would Be Complete Within Two Years From The Time We Start.” Trump promised a “real wall” would be built “within two years” on the southern border of the United States, promising that the Mexican government would pay for the wall:
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday that his proposed wall across the U.S.-Mexico border would be completed within two years.
“I would say it would be complete within two years from the time we start, we'll start quickly,” Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity at a town hall in Pittsburgh, Pa. “We'll start quickly, and it will be a real wall. It will be a real wall.”
The self-imposed deadline was the most detail Trump has offered about his controversial proposal aimed at preventing illegal immigration. At one point, the crowd at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall began chanting “Build the wall! Build the wall!”
Trump followed that outburst with a call-and-response, asking the crowd “Who's gonna pay for the wall?”
After the crowd responded, “Mexico!”, Trump told Hannity, “They'll pay in one form or another.” [FoxNews.com, 4/14/16]
Fox News Has Repeatedly Promoted Building A Border Fence As A Cost-Effective Strategy For The U.S. Fox News host Martha MacCallum suggested the construction of a border fence would be a cost-effective strategy for dealing with the influx of children fleeing Central America across the U.S.-Mexico border, falsely claiming that the cost to build a border fence was only $6.5 billion. [Media Matters, 7/9/14]
Fox’s Charles Krauthammer Argued That A Border Fence Should Be First Solution To Immigration. Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said that America should “start with a fence” to secure the border, then discuss whether undocumented immigrants should be granted legal status. Krauthammer added that if one fence doesn’t work, “Well, then you build two fences, triple-strand fences”:
Krauthammer argued that if America could fully secure its border, then the American people would be far more willing to “legalize” the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living in this country.
But how would Krauthammer “secure the border,” O’Reilly asked. “You start with a fence,” he replied.
“People say, ‘Oh, fences don’t work, you make a ladder.’ Well, then you build two fences, triple-strand fences,” Krauthammer continued, stopping short of a Herman Cain-style electrified fence with a moat full of alligators.
“If fences don’t work, why is there one around the White House?” he asked. “If they don’t work, why is it that the Israeli fence, which separates Israel from the West Bank, has cut down terror attacks within Israel by 99%. Fences work.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 7/2/14 via Mediaite]
No Citizenship For Undocumented Immigrants
Trump To Sean Hannity: “No Citizenship” For Undocumented Immigrants. In a town hall with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Donald Trump promised “no citizenship” for undocumented immigrants under a Trump administration. Trump said that he would “go a step further” by demanding undocumented immigrants “pay back taxes,” adding, “There’s no amnesty”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): This is important. So you’re saying there is -- and you have been sort of indicating that there’ll be some flexibility. Originally you had said, “they’re all out,” and there was a big brouhaha. But you’re saying that if somebody can prove that they’ve been here, proven to be a citizen -- but here’s the big question though: No citizenship?
DONALD TRUMP: No citizenship.
HANNITY: Everyone agree with that?
TRUMP: Let me go a step further. They’ll pay back taxes, they have to pay taxes. There’s no amnesty as such. There’s no amnesty. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/24/16]
Fox Has Repeatedly Demonized Legalization Of Undocumented Immigrants. Fox News has repeatedly demonized any attempt to give undocumented immigrants temporary or permanent legal status to work and live in America, calling it amnesty for “illegals.” Fox attacked the DREAM Act, comprehensive immigration reform, and even temporary protections for Haitian victims following a devastating earthquake. [Media Matters, 8/19/11]
Trump’s Proposals Are Unrealistic And Counterproductive
Law Professor Bill Ong Hing: “The Constitutionality Of Sanctuary Policies Is Clear.” As explained by Bill Ong Hing, a law professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, “sanctuary policies” are clearly constitutional. As he wrote in the UC Irvine Law Review, these state and local policies do not violate federal law “as long as sanctuary communities that choose not to ask about immigration status do not bar volunteer communications and follow other federal requirements of cooperation”:
The constitutionality of sanctuary policies is clear. Unlike anti-immigrant subfederal laws intended to regulate immigration, sanctuary policies, community policing, and confidentiality approaches are not about regulating the admission of immigrants. Sanctuary policies are about public safety and decisions on how to spend public funds and establish priorities, and therefore are not preempted. Congress cannot commandeer local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws. Thus, as long as sanctuary communities that choose not to ask about immigration status do not bar volunteer communications and follow other federal requirements of cooperation, they clearly are not preempted.
The central teaching of the Tenth Amendment cases is that even where Congress has the authority under the Constitution to pass laws requiring or prohibiting certain acts, it lacks the power directly to compel the states to require or prohibit those acts. Congress may not, therefore, directly compel states or localities to enact or to administer policies or programs adopted by the federal government. It may not directly shift to the states enforcement and administrative responsibilities allocated to the federal government by the Constitution. Such a reallocation would not only diminish the political accountability of both state and federal officers, but it would also compromise the structural framework of dual sovereignty and separation of powers. Thus, Congress may not directly force states to assume enforcement or administrative responsibilities constitutionally vested in the federal government. Forcing subfederal entities to allow voluntary cooperation raises the specter of violating those principles. [UC Irvine Law Review, 2012 via Media Matters, 7/7/15]
Law Enforcement Experts: Sanctuary City Policies Deter Crime. According to an October 4, 2007, report in Salon, several law enforcement experts -- including “the chiefs of police of the 64 largest police departments in the United States and Canada” -- have found that sanctuary cities policies actually deter crime rather than exacerbate it. The criminal justice coordinator for the City of New York reportedly credited sanctuary city-style policies as “one of the reasons New York City is the country's safest big city”:
When it comes to public safety, meanwhile, defenders of sanctuary cities say their policy deters crime. John Feinblatt, the criminal justice coordinator for the City of New York, says that the city's policy regarding law enforcement involvement with immigration status isn't protecting criminals but helping the NYPD catch them -- and that it is one of the reasons New York City is the country's safest big city.
In 2006, an organization known as the Major Cities Chiefs, comprising the chiefs of police of the 64 largest police departments in the United States and Canada, put out a position paper that opposed any congressional efforts like the ones currently under consideration. In the position paper, the Major Cities Chiefs said local law enforcement did not have the budget or capability to become an enforcer of federal immigration law. Further, “immigration enforcement by local police would likely negatively effect [sic] and undermine the level of trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities. If the undocumented immigrant's primary concern is that they will be deported or subjected to an immigration status investigation, then they will not come forward and provide needed assistance and cooperation. Distrust and fear of contacting or assisting the police would develop among legal immigrants as well ... Such a divide between the local police and immigrant groups would result in increased crime against immigrants and in the broader community, create a class of silent victims and eliminate the potential for assistance from immigrants in solving crimes or preventing future terroristic acts.” [Salon, 10/4/07, via Media Matters, 7/7/15]
NY Times: Immigration And Security Experts Say Building A Wall Would “Cause More Problems Than It Would Solve.” According to security and immigration experts interviewed by The New York Times, Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the southern border of the United States “would be a daunting task and cause more problems than it would solve.” The Times also interviewed a Texas-based builder who said “[t]he resources alone” to build Trump’s border wall “would be astronomical” and “logistics would be nightmarish”:
Mr. Trump has shared few details. He has said that the wall would be built from precast concrete and steel and that it could be 50 feet tall, if not higher. After calling for it to extend across the entire 2,000-mile southern border, he more recently said half that length could be sufficient because of natural barriers. He has pegged the cost at $4 billion to $12 billion, most recently settling on around $10 billion.
Some see that as low. “There’s a lot of logistics involved in this, and I don’t know how thoroughly they’ve thought it out,” said Todd Sternfeld, chief executive of Superior Concrete, a Texas-based builder of walls. “The resources alone would be astronomical.”
Mr. Sternfeld, who has led major wall projects across the country and approached the Trump family last summer, suggested that Mr. Trump was overly optimistic about the cost and was underestimating the complexity of the undertaking.
Running the numbers, Mr. Sternfeld said a 40-foot-tall concrete wall using a “post and panel” system that went 10 feet below the ground — to minimize tunneling — would cost at least $26 billion. The logistics would be nightmarish, including multiple concrete casting sites and temporary housing for a crew of 1,000 workers if the job were to be completed within Mr. Trump’s first four-year term. [The New York Times, 5/19/16]
National Memo: “Trump’s Border Wall … Would Be One Of The Largest Civil Works Projects In The History Of The Country And Would Face An Array Of Challenges.” In an article titled “An Engineer Explains Why Trump’s Wall Is So Implausible,” National Memo’s Ali Rhuzkhan broke down Trump’s proposal for a border wall, writing, “The challenge of Trump’s border wall is not technical, but logistical. The leap in complexity between ‘building a wall’ and ‘building a 2,000-mile-long continuous border wall in the desert’ is about equal to the gap between ‘killing a guy’ and ‘waging a protracted land war.’” Rhuzkhan concluded that “Trump’s border wall is not impossible, but it would certainly be a more challenging endeavor than he would ever lead you to believe.” From National Memo’s September 21, 2015 article:
The challenge of Trump’s border wall is not technical, but logistical. The leap in complexity between “building a wall” and “building a 2,000-mile-long continuous border wall in the desert” is about equal to the gap between “killing a guy” and “waging a protracted land war.” Trump’s border wall, if built as he has described it, would be one of the largest civil works projects in the history of the country and would face an array of challenges not found when constructing 95-story skyscrapers.
Twelve million, six hundred thousand cubic yards. In other words, this wall would contain over three times the amount of concrete used to build the Hoover Dam — a project that, unlike Trump’s wall, has qualitative, verifiable economic benefits.
Such a wall would be greater in volume than all six pyramids of the Giza Necropolis — and it is unlikely that a concrete slab in the town of Dead Dog Valley, Texas would inspire the same timeless sense of wonder.
This analysis also ignores the less sexy aspects of large-scale engineering projects: surveying, land acquisition, environmental review, geological studies, maintenance, excavating for foundations, and so on. Theoretical President Trump may be able to executive-order his way through the laser grid of lawsuits that normally impede this kind of work, but he can’t ignore the physical realities of construction.
Trump’s border wall is not impossible, but it would certainly be a more challenging endeavor than he would ever lead you to believe. Maybe he should stick to 95-story buildings. [The National Memo, 9/21/15]
Wash. Post: Unaccompanied Children Fleeing Violence In Central America Is “Not A Problem Donald Trump’s Wall -- Or Any Of The Other Heavy-On-Security Proposals -- Are Likely To Solve.” In an article titled “The huge immigration problem that Donald Trump’s wall won’t solve,” The Washington Post’s Max Ehrenfreund wrote that the problem of migrants who “are not dodging border patrol agents,” but are “fleeing turmoil” in Central America is a problem that “Donald Trump’s wall -- or any of the other heavy-on-security proposals -- are likely to solve.” Ehrenfreund concluded that instead of seeking to solve immigration problems, politicians are “focused instead about border security, using a set of talking points that Americans politicians have been repeating for decades.” From the December 18, 2015, article:
A year ago last summer, an influx of children migrating across the Mexican border created a crisis for the Obama administration. Now children are showing up at the border again -- some of them with their parents, but many traveling on their own to escape violence in Central America.
And it's not a problem Donald Trump's wall -- or any of the other heavy-on-security proposals -- are likely to solve.
These immigrants -- unlike immigrants who have crossed illegally in the past -- are not dodging Border Patrol agents by tunneling under fences or making a dangerous journey on foot through uninhabited desert. The migrants have special legal status because they are not just here to work, but are fleeing turmoil at home, and they're actually seeking out men and women in uniform.
“No amount of border enforcement” will solve this problem, said Pia Orrenius, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas who studies immigration.
Instead, she said, the question confronting policymakers is providing immigration courts with enough manpower to handle the increasing numbers of immigrants, admitting those who have a legitimate claim to asylum and deporting those seeking to exploit the system.
“The whole rhetoric around migration has to change,” Orrenius added.
For the most part, the candidates have not broached these difficult questions on the campaign trail. They're focused instead about border security, using a set of talking points that Americans politicians have been repeating for decades. [The Washington Post, 12/18/15]
No Path To Citizenship
ThinkProgress: “A Path To Citizenship For America’s 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants Would Provide Substantial Boosts To The Nation’s Economy.” In a 2013 article, ThinkProgress’s Travis Waldron wrote that “a new study from the Center for American Progress asserts that legal status and a path to citizenship for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants would provide substantial boosts to the nation’s economy in the immediate future.” Under a scenario in which undocumented immigrants have “a path to citizenship within five years,” according to the study, “the benefits would be large, and though there are still benefits to reform without a path to citizenship, they are significantly smaller.” From the March 20, 2013, article:
As Congress continues to piece together comprehensive immigration reform legislation, a new study from the Center for American Progress asserts that legal status and a path to citizenship for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants would provide substantial boosts to the nation’s economy in the immediate future.
The study from Robert Lynch and Patrick Oakford examined three immigration reform scenarios: immediate legal status and citizenship, immediate legal status and a path to citizenship within five years, and legal status but no path to citizenship. The first scenario, immediate citizenship, would provide the largest economic boost, adding $1.4 trillion to economic growth, a $791 billion increase to Americans’ personal incomes, and 203,000 jobs over the next decade. It would also boost incomes of undocumented workers by $691 billion over the next decade, adding $184 billion in tax revenues to state and federal coffers.
Even under the second scenario — immediate legal status and a path to citizenship within five years — the benefits would be large, and though there are still benefits to reform without a path to citizenship, they are significantly smaller than the benefits from the other scenarios. [ThinkProgress, 3/20/13]