The Slatest

Donald Trump’s Plan for Undocumented Immigrants Remains a Mystery

Donald Trump walks onstage to speak at the second annual Joni Ernst Roast and Ride event on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Republican presidential candidate is angry at the media for demanding answers about his plans for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country. “In recent days, the media—as it usually does—has missed the whole point on immigration. All the media wants to talk about is the 11 million or more people here illegally,” he said at a rally on Saturday. Trump did not proceed to clarify what his stance would be on undocumented immigrants, only saying that “we’re going to get rid of the criminals and it’s gonna happen within one hour of when I take office.”

Speaking in Iowa, Trump did go into a bit more detail about other aspects of his immigration plan, noting how he would expand the E-Verify program that allows employers to check whether someone is legally eligible to work in the United States. He also returned to an earlier promise of his campaign, vowing to create a tracking system “to ensure those who overstay their visas are quickly removed.” Without all the talk of undocumented immigrants, Trump is starting to sound more and more like many mainstream Republicans, “including Jeb Bush and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, two of Mr. Trump’s chief rivals in the Republican primary race, and Mitt Romney, the party’s nominee in 2012,” points out the New York Times.

Even though immigration experts have been scratching their heads trying to figure out what Trump’s policy would be if elected, the campaign denies there’s been any shift in stance. Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence insisted on Sunday that Trump’s positions on immigration had remained steady throughout the campaign. “Nothing has changed about Donald Trump’s position on dealing with illegal immigration,” the Indiana governor said on CNN. “He put this issue at the center of his presidential campaign in the Republican primary. His position and his principles have been absolutely consistent.” Pence refused to answer whether Trump still backed a “deportation force” to remove undocumented immigrants from the country.

Pence said Trump would soon clearly “articulate a policy” on how his presidency would handle undocumented immigrants. But for now, what the media is seeing as shifting stances amounts to nothing more than a business executive thinking things through. “You see a CEO at work. You see someone who is engaging the American people, listening to the American people, hearing from all sides,” Pence said.