We’re getting the first advance word about what’s going to be included in Trump’s big immigration policy speech on Wednesday. And it sounds like he’s going Full Jeb!, or at a minimum Total Marco.
Senior Trump adv on immigration speech: Secure border first. Then have conversation on what to do with undocumented “years from now.”
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 29, 2016
Whatever the merits of this approach on its own terms it must be pointed out that this has been the consensus GOP line since the Comprehensive Immigration Reform push blew up in 2013. It’s even relatively dovish in the context of the 2016 presidential contenders.
The argument, most fully articulated by Rubio since he was most tarred by the 2013 effort, was that you needed to build credibility with the public by clamping down on border enforcement before you could move ahead with addressing what happens to the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants currently living in the country. But that was only a rationale trying to put a pretty face on the fact that Rubio jettisoned the issue he wanted to own and use to run for president in 2016, all the while pretending that he hadn’t cravenly flipped on something that was supposedly critical for country and party.
The truth is that by any reasonable standard – not medieval ‘we have a castle and moat’ standard – the border has already been aggressively fortified. This is just a way to kick the can down the road. Basically it’s nonsense. Going back to the issue of nonsense debt, a key reason Trump was able to bulldoze through the GOP establishment candidates was that he simply drew the logical conclusion from establishment GOP arguments. Namely, if we’re not going to allow these millions some framework to become citizens or even regularize their status, why aren’t we deporting them?
So it’s nonsense on its own terms. But it also means Trump has adopted wholesale the position he won the nomination by ridiculing as “weak”. I’m skeptical that this new position even makes it to the Wednesday speech or that Trump will be able to stick to it much after that.