Is immigration a winning issue for Trump … or not?

Trump talks about immigration in Phoenix (Reuters photo)

Donald Trump zigged when everyone expected him to zag. Instead of softening on illegal immigration, he doubled down.

In a speech in Phoenix Wednesday, after flying to Mexico to visit that country’s president, Trump repeated his promise to build a high-tech wall on the border and have Mexico pay for it — though Mexico’s president says it will not. He said he would begin deporting 2 million criminal aliens on day one. He said there would be no amnesty and those here illegally would have to go home and apply to come here legally. He said he would immediately terminate Obama’s two executive orders granting legal status to 5 million illegal aliens — DACA and DAPA, the first for children brought here illegally and the second for their parents who brought them.

A Washington Post writer called Trump’s strategy a loser. “Republicans facing four more years in the wilderness will long recall the raucous rally in Phoenix as a low point of the Trump campaign, perhaps even as the moment that he definitively extinguished his hopes of becoming president,” James Hohmann writes.

Seemingly buoying Hohmann’s view that no one cares about immigration as an issue, except immigrants who want amnesty and open borders, Rasmussen Reports released a poll Wednesday saying support for amnesty has risen to its highest level since 2008.

“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of Likely U.S. Voters now think legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States is more important than gaining control of the border, up from 34% in February,” the company said. “Just over half (51%) still believe gaining control of the border is more important when it comes to immigration reform, but that’s down eight points from 59% six months ago.”

But a year ago Rasmussen was reporting 51 percent of all likely voters favor building a wall on the border, and 80 percent support the deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of a felony, while 54 percent disagree with the current federal policy that says a child born to an illegal immigrant here is automatically a U.S. citizen. Only 34 percent agreed with Obama’s DACA and DAPA orders.

Perhaps views have changed that much that quickly.

The Wall Street Journal also seemed to imply that immigration is a losing issue for Trump, noting that he trails Hillary Clinton in polls in each of the 11 battleground states that will likely decide the election.

“His weakness among Hispanic voters has damaged his standing in Colorado, Nevada and Florida, and made Arizona competitive — a heavily Republican state where the Clinton campaign opened two offices in August and invested more than $100,000 in field staffers to register voters and boost Democratic turnout,” the paper writes.

Nevada Public Radio posted online an annotated copy of the Trump speech. Most of the comments disputed Trump’s major arguments, of course.

A New York Times editorial blustered on Trump’s speech:

In a strident speech given over a steady roar of cheers, he restated his brutally simple message: Criminal aliens were roaming our streets by the millions, killing Americans and stealing our jobs, and he’d kick them all out with a new “deportation force,” build the wall and make America safe again.

The speech was a reverie of immigrant-fearing, police-state bluster, with Mr. Trump gushing about building “an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall,” assailing “media elites” and listing his various notions for thwarting evil foreigners.

During his speech Trump actually introduced the parents of some of those killed by illegal alien criminals.

During his speech Trump appealed to those concerned about federal spending and competition for jobs:

President Obama and Hillary Clinton have engaged in gross dereliction of duty by surrendering the safety of the American people to open borders. President Obama and Hillary Clinton support Sanctuary Cities, they support catch-and-release on the border, they support visa overstays, they support the release of dangerous criminals from detention – and they support unconstitutional executive amnesty.

Hillary Clinton has pledged amnesty in her first 100 days, and her plan will provide Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare for illegal immigrants – breaking the federal budget. On top of that, she promises uncontrolled low-skilled immigration that continues to reduce jobs and wages for American workers, especially African-American and Hispanic workers. This includes her plan to bring in 620,000 new refugees in a four-year term.

He emphasized the criminal element:

Since 2013 alone, the Obama Administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into U.S. communities – these are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who not detained or processed for deportation.

Trump also appealed to those concerned about admitting refugees from countries who might turn out to be terrorists:

As soon as I enter office, I am going to ask the Department of State, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to begin a comprehensive review of these cases in order to develop a list of regions and countries from which immigration must be suspended until proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place.

Countries from which immigration will be suspended would include places like Syria and Libya.

For the price of resettling 1 refugee in the United States, 12 could be resettled in a safe zone in their home region.

Another reform involves new screening tests for all applicants that include an ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people.

For instance, in the last five years, we’ve admitted nearly 100,000 immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan – in these two countries, according to Pew research, a majority of residents say that the barbaric practice of honor killings against women are often or sometimes justified.

Applicants will be asked for their views about honor killings, about respect for women and gays and minorities, attitudes on Radical Islam, and many other topics as part of the vetting procedure.

Whether he will use a lie detector or truth serum is not stated.

The question now is whether this is a winning issue or losing issue. We shall see.

Speaking of seeing, a Rasmussen Reports poll released today shows Trump with 40 percent backing to Clinton’s 39 percent among likely voters. A week ago, Clinton led 42 percent to 38 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson now gets 7 percent of the vote, down from 9 percent in recent weeks.

22 comments on “Is immigration a winning issue for Trump … or not?

  1. Steve says:

    I’ve said it before and it bears repeating:
    Trump is working to Clinton elected.

  2. Balderdash…Trump is working to get Trump elected. One need only to look at the immigration policies of our neighbor to the south…Mexico, and our neighbor to the north…Canada, to see what Trump intimated last night is neither extreme nor outrageous. This is a problem that career politicians of both parties have kicked down the road for 40 years or more. The head of the FBI and the NSA have already testified that Syrian refugees cannot be properly vetted because of the state of disorder and lack of verified information systems in that country. Immigration applicants are already required to “Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
    Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law.”

  3. Steve says:

    I maintain every action taken by Trump this cycle has been effective in getting Clinton elected this November. He has provided his “opposition” with endless soundbites they are currently using against him and he refuses to buy any air time at all, let alone refute what they say.
    His entire candidacy amounts to a “yuge” private donation to her campaign.

    If you follow that link, you will find you are in agreement with Nyp.

    I said it before and I say it now.Trump is working to get Clinton elected.

  4. I’m well aware of your conspiracy theory…I’m just not buying it.

  5. I supposed John McCain was working to get Obama elected too…right?

  6. Steve says:

    Actions speak louder than conspiracy….in fact this will be the second time a very wealthy person has helped a Clinton take an election.

    History is repeating itself.

  7. Steve says:

    Obama pushed Clinton out of the way and didn’t need any assistance taking that election.

    Obama was a walk away taker of all that year.

  8. I would surmise you’re referring to Ross Perot…the main third party candidate in 1992. Aren’t you the one whose been tooting this year’s main third party candidate…the daily pot smoking, advocate of totally open borders and fan of Black Lies Matter…Gary Johnson?

  9. Steve says:

    So? I think more of what they say represents me than either of the two current liars claiming to be Democrat and Republican. So silly, outside of social “issues” Trump is way left of Clinton and Clinton is more conservative than Trump on many economic issues.

    As to prohibition, I am against it.

    As to other party candidates, I have voted down ticket many times over the decades for people who said things that represented my own beliefs better than the so called “party faithful” candidates.
    Voting based on the letter next to the name is wrong.
    As for Perrot, he had us fooled back then, Trump is todays Perrot. The “third” party is really a real “second” party.

  10. Nyp says:

    He isn’t that wealthy

  11. Steve says:

    Really, Nyp. He makes loans to his campaign then spends the money on his own products and services. Then he forgives the loans.
    Taking money out of one pocket just so he can put it in the other.

    And you have as much idea how wealthy Trump is as anyone else does, in other words no idea at all. Because the only word we have on that topic is Trumps own.

  12. Nyp says:

    To what extent do you think the conservative movement is itself responsible for Donald Trump & Sarah Palin?

  13. Steve says:

    Those people are not a result of one side or the other.
    The left has it’s own crazy’s. Have you heard the lefty “chemtrail” conspiracy theory yet? Supposedly, it gains traction because Bill Gates said something that sounded like he believes it.
    Both ends of the spectrum are producing crazy’s as a direct result of the whole.
    It takes two to tango.

  14. Steve says:

    Yeah, Brien….til he contradicts himself again…and again.

  15. Steve says:

    And, that didn’t take long at all.
    Trump has “clarified” his speech, by making it muddier again.

    The speed of these “clarifications” is increasing, used to take a whole day or more.

    He might be all for a “path to citizenship” similar to the Obama plan! Who knows? He certainly isn’t being clear on it.

  16. Barbara says:

    NYP – why would the conservative movement be responsible for Trump or Palin? Neither are conservatives – they are populists. What do you consider the conservative movement?

  17. Steve says:

    Populists, I hadn’t thought of it that way but it certainly fits my reply.

    Nice to have a word for it.

  18. Americanism was the term used in the linked article. Oh and Steve, your “real” second party won’t win one state…and they won’t be in the debates. They picked the wrong candidates…Johnson and Weld aren’t exactly a revolution…and if they garner 8% in November, I’ll be flabbergasted.

  19. Was Bill Clinton a racist when he proposed many of the same ideas on how to deal with illegal immigration as the Trumpster is now talking about?

  20. Bill says:

    Steve,,,, can’t buy into the theory that the Donald is attempting to get Hillary elected but he sure as hell makes it difficult some times to vote for him. As to the question of whether his stance on immigration will help or hurt, who knows? But, one thing is for sure and that is that if we do not have borders then we have no real nation. While it may be Utopian to believe that we are all citizens of the world, that is not a practical condition unless we want to have an Orwellian existence.

  21. nyp says:

    Bill Clinton said that most immigrants are rapists and murderers and he called for building a fifty-foot wall along a thousand miles of borderland?
    Who knew?

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