A day after he left open the chance of legal status for millions of immigrants in the United States illegally, Donald Trump tried to close the door on that, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he does not support any immediate move to a legal status for law abiding immigrants.
“There’s no path to legalization unless they leave the country,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“When they come back in, then they can start paying taxes, but there is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and then come back,” Trump said of those in the U.S. illegally.
That type of procedure is what some would call, “touchback amnesty” – where the immigrant would return to their home country for an undetermined time, and then come back to the United States – legally.
Trump has always left “touchback amnesty” open as a possibility, even though he also called for the deportation of all immigrants who were illegally in the U.S., something that Ted Cruz repeatedly tried to highlight during the GOP primaries.
One problem for Trump is that he has been on all sides of the immigration debate over the years – and this week has been a reflection of that as well.
Republicans who have been opposed to Trump seized on the last few days to mock the GOP nominee.
“Trump supporters spit, write, and equivocate over his immigration flip flop,” was the headline at RedState, which has been no friend of Trump’s.
“Donald Trump’s mixed signals on deportation cause a GOP flap,” chimed in the Wall Street Journal.
So far this week, Trump has praised how President Obama handled some immigration enforcement actions, opened the door to allowing millions to stay on in the U.S., and now seemingly closed that door to return to his original position that involved ‘touchback amnesty.’
Trump is supposed to talk immigration next week during a visit to Phoenix, as he promised on Thursday to set out more definitively what he wants to do on the politically charged issue.