Instead Of Detailing His Immigration Policy, Trump Polls Town Hall Crowd

After signaling over the past few days that he could soften his policy on immigration and deportation, Donald Trump on Wednesday night made it clear that he has yet to finalize his policy.

During the second installment of his Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity, Trump dodged questions about the specifics of his immigration policy and instead polled the audience on what he should do.

Hannity asked Trump for the Wednesday portion of the town hall whether he is shifting away from his previously stated plan to deport all undocumented immigrants from the United States.

“We have to follow the laws of our country,” Trump said in response, parroting a line he has used all week. He said earlier in the week that he wants to follow existing immigration law and do the “same thing” as President Obama, but with “a lot more energy.”

Instead of elaborating, Trump on Wednesday turned to the town hall audience and asked them how the U.S. should approach undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for a while.

“Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me,” he said.

After the crowd responded with incoherent cheers and yells, both Hannity and Trump tried asking again.

Trump asked the crowd if he should throw longtime residents out or if he should “work with them and let them stay in some form.”

After the second round of polling, Hannity noted to Trump that he appears to be shifting away from his previous policy of deporting all undocumented immigrants. He asked Trump to clarify whether he would offer undocumented immigrants citizenship.

“No citizenship,” Trump responded.

“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, but we work with them,” Trump added, leaving it unclear whether he supports a path to legalization.

The Republican nominee then told the town hall audience that he has had people come up and tell him how tough it is to throw someone out of the country who’s been here for a while. He then polled the audience again.

Hannity jumped in to ask, “What does your gut tell you you want to do?”

“Hold on, this is like a poll,” Trump responded.

He then told the crowd, “We’re going to come out with a decision very soon,” suggesting his immigration policy is not finalized.

“Everywhere I go, I get the same reaction. They want toughness, they want firmness, they want to obey the law. But — but, they feel that throwing them out as a whole family when they’ve been here for a long time, it’s a tough thing. They do feel that,” Trump added.

The Republican nominee did not offer a clear view on deportation, adding to the confusion he started earlier this week. Though it appears Trump may soften his stance on deportation, he maintained that he will build a wall along the southern border and deport “bad guys” quickly upon taking office.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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