Amnesty betrayal? Not so fast. Trump told us this was coming
Donald Trump Illusion

The record: Here's what Trump really said about amnesty

Posted September 14, 2017 11:33 AM by Chris Pandolfo Donald Trump Illusion
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, seen in reflection, poses for a portrait following an interview with the Associated Press at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. Andrew Harnik | AP Images
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In many ways, President Trump’s deal with the Democrats to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants is not surprising.

Donald Trump told us on the campaign trail that he would look to make deals with Democrats. “I’ve always had a good relationship with Nancy Pelosi,” he once explained on MSNBC in January 2016. “I think I’ll be able to get along well with Schumer, Chuck Schumer. I was always very good with Schumer, I was close to Schumer in many ways,” he said.

What may be surprising to voters is Trump’s embrace of amnesty for illegal immigrants, the so-called “Dreamers.” On Thursday morning, the president sent a couple of tweets outlining a deal he made with minority leaders Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to legalize DACA, granting amnesty to nearly one million illegal immigrants with unclear additional provisions for border security and no progress toward building a wall on the southern border.

This position seems to contradict President Trump’s repeated campaign promises to fight amnesty for illegal immigrants. So what’s going on?

The truth is, President Trump has said multiple things on both sides of the issue. Conservative Review’s 2016 presidential profile rated Trump’s positions on immigration as “mixed.” There were several moments during the campaign and before he was running for president when Trump took strong positions opposing amnesty.

  • In 2013, President Trump warned that legalizing illegal immigrants would be a “suicide mission” for Republicans.

    “Now this is a hard one, because when it comes to immigration, you know that the 11 million illegals, even if given the right to vote. You know you’re going to have to do what’s right. But the fact is 11 million people will be voting Democratic … every one of those 11 million people will be voting Democratic. It’s just the way it works, and you have to be very, very careful, because you could say, that to a certain extent, the odds aren’t looking so great right now for Republicans, that you’re on a suicide mission.”

  • Donald Trump said that granting amnesty to DACA recipients was “unfair” to legal immigrants.

    “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties in which he defied federal law and the Constitution to give amnesty to approximately five million illegal immigrants, five million. And how about all the millions that are waiting on line, going through the process legally? So unfair.” – Donald Trump, August 31, 2016

  • In September 2016, Trump unequivocally declared, “There will be no amnesty.”

Trump also, contradictorily, declared support for amnesty several times as a candidate for president and as a private citizen before running for office.

  • Trump said in 2012: “For people that have been here for years, that have been hard workers, have good jobs, they’re supporting their family — it’s very, very tough to just say, ‘By the way, 22 years, you have to leave. Get out.’ I’m one of the world’s very conservative people, but I have to tell you on a human basis, how do you throw somebody out that’s lived in this country for 20 years?”

  • Trump became supportive of the DREAM Act as early as 2013, when told a group of illegal immigrant activists “you’ve convinced me” to pass amnesty.

  • In 2013, Trump tweeted “amnesty should be done only if the border is secure and illegal immigration has stopped.”

  • In June 2015, shortly after announcing his candidacy, Trump told TMZ he intended to create a “system of merit” for illegal immigrants that would give them “a road to legal status.”

  • Trump also repeated an open-borders talking point that illegal immigrants will do jobs Americans won’t. “Now, a lot of these people are helping us, whether it’s the grapes, or whether it’s jobs, and sometimes it’s jobs, in all fairness, I love our country, but sometimes it’s jobs that a citizen of the United States doesn’t want to do. I mean, there are jobs that a lot of people don’t want to do,” Trump said.

  • During a press conference in Chicago on Jun 29, 2015, Trump said illegal immigrants living in the U.S. must be granted a path to legalization. “Give them a path. You have to make it possible for them to succeed.”

“When I’m president, I’m a different person. I can be the most politically correct person you’ve ever seen,” Trump said in January 2016.

Well, was Trump right? Does President Trump’s deal with the Democrats to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants without any funding toward the wall show he is a different person from the Donald Trump people voted for? Or, given his statements, did we know that Trump was pro-amnesty all along?


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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.