Trump Says He’s ‘Softening’ On Expanding Legal Immigration

Trump immigration GOP debate
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Donald Trump expressed unusual flexibility on immigration during Thursday’s GOP debate in Detroit, saying he was “softening” his views on accepting highly-skilled foreign workers and open to negotiating the size of the wall he wants to construct on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly asked Trump whether he still believed granting more HB-1 visas to highly-skilled workers would “decimate” American workers, as it says on his campaign website. Trump had spoken favorably of those visas at an earlier debate hosted by CNBC.

“I’m changing,” Trump responded. “We need highly skilled people in this country. If we can’t do it, we will get them in.”

Kelly pushed Trump to confirm whether he was “abandoning the position” outlined on his website.

“I’m softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country,” Trump replied.

The GOP frontrunner displayed a similarly loose attitude towards the size of the border wall he has vowed to build on the U.S.-Mexico border and his plans to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.

Kelly asked Trump to clarify the immigration position he articulated to the New York Times in an off-the-record meeting that made headlines this week. Reports circulated that the billionaire businessman may have told the newspaper he was “flexible” on aspects of his immigration policy.

“In terms of immigration and almost anything else, there always has to be some, you know, tug and pull and deal,” Trump told Kelly.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have called on Trump to ask the newspaper to release the interview transcript to prove he is not misleading voters on his immigration stance.

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: