Donald Trump published his first-ever policy paper today in which he offered his plan for how to reform America’s immigration system. In the 1,900-word proposal, Trump mostly reiterates much of his rhetoric thus far on the subject of immigration, though some new details are offered regarding specific ideas and how to pay for them. In short, his plan is to not only eliminate undocumented immigration to the U.S. and target undocumented immigrants already here, but severely restrict other forms of immigration as well, all the while instituting new programs and benefits for American citizens.
A glaring omission from Trump’s official plan, however, is what to specifically do with the bulk of the estimated 11 million undocumented (but otherwise law-abiding) immigrants already living and working in the U.S. As CNN notes, Trump has said before that all of them should be deported, something he referenced again today while speaking with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press about his proposal to change the U.S. Constitution to prohibit birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants. “We have to keep the families together,” Trump told Todd, “but they have to go.” Later, once the immigrants are out of the country, Trump insisted, as he has in the past, that the “good people can come back,” though exactly how that would be facilitated is not clear from either his remarks today or the new policy paper.
What is outlined in the paper is that Trump plans to build a wall along the country’s southern border and then force Mexico to pay for said wall by “impounding remittance payments derived from illegal wages,” increasing visa and border crossing fees for Mexicans entering the U.S., and possibly increasing tariffs and/or cutting foreign aid. Trump also plans to institute nationwide e-verification for employers and triple the number of ICE officers operating in the country (which he will pay for by “eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants”), as well as cut off federal grants to American cities that do not fully enforce federal immigration laws. Trump would also detain all undocumented immigrants captured at the border for the entire time they await their deportation, and he’d institute mandatory deportation for all “criminal aliens,” including canceling foreign visas for any country that will not accept those immigrants back; additionally, he would also create new laws “making it a separate and additional crime to commit an offense while here illegally.”
Trump’s plan also calls for criminalizing visa overstays, ending the short-term (work exchange) visa program for foreign students, limiting the admission of foreign refugees (with the money for refugee programs redirected to programs for native-born American children), and restricting the number of “low-earning” (poor) workers allowed into the country. He also suggests “pausing” the issuance of new green cards so that U.S. employers “will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers.”