Washington (AFP): Donald Trump is committed to a “fair and humane” approach to securing America’s borders, but details of his evolving immigration policy will be revealed at a later time, his presidential campaign team said on Sunday.
The Republican presidential candidate’s hardline stance on repatriating the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States has been a central tenet of Trump’s White House campaign — and a hugely popular selling point to his most ardent supporters.
To keep illegal migrants out, Trump has promised to build a wall on America’s southern border — to be paid for, he has declared at rally after campaign rally, by Mexico.
One year ago, he issued an immigration reform plan calling for an end to automatic citizenship for those born in the United States, a right which some say is abused by undocumented migrants seeking American birthright for their children.
This past week, however, the Republican presidential candidate — once uncompromising in his vow to use a deportation force to repatriate illegal migrants — seemed a little less resolute.
He even suggested in one interview that there could be a “softening” of his position on how to handle undocumented migrants — a sign of vacillation met with dismay by some Trump acolytes.
“There certainly can be a ‘softening,’ because we’re not looking to hurt people,” Trump told Fox News town hall last Tuesday.
Now, in the latest apparent turnaround, his surrogates insisted Sunday that Trump remains as committed as ever to maintaining the integrity of America’s borders.
“We’re going to secure the border. We’re going to build a wall, have a physical barrier, enforce the laws of this country,” the billionaire businessman’s White House running mate Mike Pence told CNN.
“We will have a mechanism for dealing with people in this country that — you heard the word ‘humanely.’ It will be fair and tough, but there will be no path to legalization and citizenship unless people leave the country,” said Pence, the governor of Indiana, adding that some specifics will be provided soon at a later time.
“You’re going to hear in more detail in the next two weeks that lays out all the policies,” Pence said.
“Donald Trump will articulate what we do with the people who are here.”
Trump’s new campaign director, Kellyanne Conway, said there has been little real change in the central tenet’s of Trump’s immigration platform.
“Actually he’s been pretty consistent. Immigration is a very complex issue,” she explained to CBS television on Sunday.
“First, there’s still no amnesty. Secondly, he’s building that wall. That has been the centerpiece of his candidacy and his immigration from the beginning it has not changed one inch,” she said.
“For those 11 million — if that in fact is the number — he wants to address that issue humanely and fairly,” Conway said.
“He is talking about being fair and humane (but) also being fair to the workers who are competing for jobs, being fair to all of us that want secure borders.”