Disappointing, but not surprising.
UPDATE: Trump clarifies.
In an interview with Hannity, Trump clarified that his process involves deporting the "bad ones", presumably criminals already in prison, building a wall, and then have some of the "outstanding" ones from the "11 million or more here" be able to reapply to come here legally through some sort of expedited process.
Again we're not talking hard numbers here, but it's a vast improvement over the impression left by Trump's previous comments. I'm somewhat skeptical about it and it would be good to get some kind of impression of what numbers we're talking about. Certainly Trump is the first to suggest mass deportation, but that would be followed by some sort of mass importation. I doubt Trump will offer hard numbers, so we're back to trust.
By being vague about it, Trump appears to offer immigration critics mass deportation and offer illegal alien supporters amnesty. Without any actual criteria, it could be one or the other. It's all in the details.
What does "bad" mean. What does "outstanding" mean. If we assume that anyone without a criminal record who worked steadily is outstanding, then we're looking at a slightly smaller amnesty. If it means overachievers and a smaller percentage of extraordinary cases, then it could be a pretty good deal. Until there are more details, it's hard to know.
Trump says of the illegal aliens, "of the good ones, of which there are many" would have to leave, but would have an expedited process of coming back.
How many is many?
UPDATE 2: Trump offers McCain talking points about jobs Americans won't do
We have to bring great people into this country, okay? And I want to bring — I love the idea of immigration, but it’s got to be legal immigration. 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. I want to move them out, and we’re going to move them back in, and let them be legal, but they have to be in here legally.…Otherwise, you don’t have a country. You don’t have a country, if people can just pour into the country illegally, you don’t have a country, but I would expedite the system.
And he endorsed the DREAMERs
We’re going to do something. I’ve been giving it so much thought, you know you have a — on a humanitarian basis, you have a lot of deep thought going into this, believe me. I actually have a big heart.…I mean, a lot of people don’t understand that, but the DREAMers, it’s a tough situation, we’re going to do something, and one of the things we’re going to do is expedite — when somebody’s terrific, we want them back here, but they have to be legally…They’re with their parents, it depends. But, look, it sounds cold, and it sounds hard. But, we have a country, our country’s going to hell. We have to have a system where people are legally in our country.
The depressing reality though that is that most of the Republican field has endorsed amnesty in one form or another. So this isn't much of a surprise. Trump is using his own vocabulary, but he's echoing the same amnesty talking points you could hear from Marco Rubio... or Barack Obama.
During Friday's interview, Trump said the U.S. should take a two-step approach to the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country.
"Well, the first thing we do is take the bad ones — of which there are, unfortunately, quite a few," said Trump, who owns three New Jersey golf courses and once owned three Atlantic City casinos. "We take the bad ones and get 'em the hell out. We get 'em out."
But he said the country should take a different approach with "the other ones" — i.e., undocumented immigrants who have "done a good job" since arriving in the U.S.
"I'm a very big believer in the merit system," Trump said. "I have to tell you: Some of these people have been here, they've done a good job. You know, in some cases, sadly, they've been living under the shadows. ... If somebody's been outstanding, we try and work something out.
"But before we do anything, we have to secure the border because the border is like having no border," he added.
I'm sure some people will be tempted to cheer this, but compare it to Obama's own amnesty executive order.
These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border: The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back. Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.
Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.
Deporting the "bad people" first is already an Obama talking point. People may think they can trust Trump, but not Obama or any of the Republicans, but like them, Trump frontloaded rhetoric about enforcement while keeping the amnesty out back.
And "secure the border first" has been the talking point of every Republican amnesty proponent.
Marco Rubio still supports legal status and a slow road to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, but now says the government must convince Americans the border is secure before taking those steps.
Trump had already indicated support for amnesty earlier, now he's being clearer about it.
This is in line with what CNN’s Chris Moody reported Trump saying during a press conference in Chicago at the end of June. When asked what he would do about the illegal immigrants already residing in the country once the border was secured, Trump replied, “give them a path,” according to Moody.
When The Daily Caller sought clarification at the time from the Trump campaign, a senior adviser replied with a circuitous answer that emphasized that Trump wanted to secure the border and didn’t believe in “amnesty,” but wouldn’t explicitly reject a pathway to legalization.
Nobody likes the A-word, including Rubio and Ryan who spent the better part of a year arguing that legalizing illegal aliens isn't amnesty if they have to pay a fine. Even Obama made that argument.
The next step would be to get Trump to lay out criteria for who gets to stay and how many of them it would apply to, but good luck getting an answer.