The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is expected to give a speech about immigration this week, perhaps in Phoenix on Wednesday. Here’s one approach he might take:
My fellow Americans.
This speech has gotten a lot of attention even before I gave it, because of inaccurate reporting that I am somehow changing my position on immigration.
So let me be 100 percent clear. I love immigration. Always have. My own mother, Mary Anne Trump, was born in Scotland and was an immigrant to America herself. My wife Melania, another immigrant. My running mate Mike Pence is named after his grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, who arrived in America at Ellis Island from Ireland on April 11, 1923.
Anyone who has actually been listening to me in this campaign — rather than to the distortions of my opponent and the press — knows this.
On August 6, 2015, in the Republican presidential debate on Fox News, I said, “I don’t mind having a big beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into the country legally.”
On August 23, 2015, on CBS, I said, “This will be a wall with a big, very beautiful door because we want the legals to come back into the country.”
These views are long held. They predate this presidential campaign. In my 2011 book “Time To Get Tough,” I wrote, “Wouldn’t it be better if we invited foreign students graduating from our colleges to stay to build American companies … ?”
This is a campaign to make America great again. Immigration is one of the things that makes America great, that helps our economy grow. The best talent from all over the world comes here — for our freedom, for our opportunity, and for our rule of law.
That brings us to my second point about immigration. I hate illegal immigration. In a world full of violent Islamic radical terrorism, if we don’t know who is coming into the country, any one of us could be the next victim of a shooting spree or a deadly bomb attack. If you don’t have borders, you don’t have a safe, secure country.
Let me be clear, again. Most immigrants to America aren’t violent terrorists or drug smugglers. Most of them are people like my wife and mother or like Mike Pence’s grandfather, people who want to become loyal, productive, hard-working, law-abiding Americans. We welcome them through that big beautiful door.
But having a large population of people here who are not legal immigrants creates a lot of problems. They’ve jumped the line; it’s not fair to all the people waiting to arrive legally. It creates problems for health care, for education, for law enforcement. Employers pay them “off the books,” so they have no safety net and are cheaper to hire than legal American-born workers.
It also — and maybe this isn’t such a problem, at least for our campaign — it erodes people’s respect for politicians, who have been promising for decades to solve this problem but have utterly — utterly — failed to do so. Did eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency solve the illegal immigration problem? No, even though Clinton deported record numbers of immigrants. Did eight years of Hillary Clinton in the Senate solve the illegal immigration problem? No. Even though Hillary Clinton and the Democrats controlled Congress for quite some time, they did not pass a comprehensive immigration law or control the border. Did four years of Hillary Clinton as President Obama’s secretary of state solve the illegal immigration problem? No.
The Clintons have failed for 20 years to solve this problem. If she gets elected president, you can bet she’ll fail again.
I’ve made building this wall — the one with the big beautiful door — a central element of my campaign. I can do it. She can’t, or won’t. A big wall, and a big door. Believe me, it’s going to be great.
Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of “JFK: Conservative.” His column appears Sunday.