Continuing what has been a slow motion rollout of his updated plans on immigration reform, Donald Trump said in an interview that he would not grant amnesty to millions of people in the United States illegally, but that those who have been law-abiding would be allowed to stay in the U.S., evidently with some sort of legal residence status that is short of citizenship.
“No citizenship,” Trump told Sean Hannity in a recorded town hall meeting on immigration, adding, “as such, there’s no amnesty.”
But Trump then goes on to tell of how he’s been asked by many people to allow immigrants who have been in the U.S. “15 or 20 years” to stay on.
Trump said those immigrants who would be allowed to stay would have to pay back taxes – a familiar plan for those who have been involved in immigration reform – but he did not go into detail on what type of legal status would be involved, as he ruled out the idea of a pathway to citizenship.
“Citizenship and legal status are both considered forms of amnesty,” said Amanda Carpenter, a former aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), as she joined other Republicans in denouncing Trump’s move as a flip flop.
In his two campaign events on Wednesday, Trump made no mention of any change on immigration, as he again charged that Democrats were helping illegal immigrants at the expense of Americans.
“Why do our leaders spend so much time talking about how to help people here illegally?” Trump said to cheers.
Trump did set out what he said would be his three points on any immigration policy:
“Hillary Clinton’s radical immigration plan fails these tests and fails them very, very badly,” Trump added.
Trump had been scheduled to set out his new immigration policies on Thursday in Colorado, but that speech has now been re-set for next Wednesday in Arizona.
Among the many issues still to be fleshed out for Trump – how many millions of people now in the U.S. illegally would be allowed to stay?
Trump has made it clear repeatedly that he wants to deport any law breakers, though he never explicitly ruled out the idea of letting those who had been here many years with a clean record to stay on.