Trump’s new immigration position
Donald Trump sought to recast his immigration stance this week by meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and making a high-stakes speech in Arizona. The speech in Arizona was scheduled to take place shortly after The Week went to press, but Trump’s surrogates said that the Republican nominee would back away from past pledges to deport all 11.5 million undocumented workers in the U.S., and focus on building a wall along the Mexican border, deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes, and cracking down on U.S. companies that employ undocumented workers. The speech came after the Republican nominee caused widespread confusion last week by initially saying he was “softening” his stance, and would let “hardworking” undocumented immigrants stay in the country as long as they paid back taxes. But he reversed course the following day and said there would be “no amnesty.” Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, summarized Trump’s new stance this way: “No amnesty, no legalization. No sanctuary cities. The people who have committed a crime are gone.” In Mexico, Trump said in a joint press conference after meeting Peña Nieto privately that the U.S. has the right to build a wall, but admitted, “who pays for the wall, we didn’t discuss that.” Peña Nieto said their dialogue had been “open and constructive,” but chided Trump by saying that illegal immigration to the U.S. has plummeted, and that “Mexican nationals in the United States are honest people, good people. Mexicans deserve respect.”
What the editorials said
It seems “the adults who recently joined Trump’s campaign” are having an effect, said The Wall Street Journal. Either they educated the Republican nominee on the “U.S. labor market’s dependence on immigrants,” or—more likely—they informed him “his core demographic coalition is too narrow to win a general election.” By dropping his deportation promise, Trump is clearly trying to broaden his appeal among college-educated whites, moderate suburbanites, and minorities—groups that are appalled by the prospect of “federal agents breaking up families” and shipping millions of people across the border.
“Rarely has a presidential candidate flip-flopped on an issue as thoroughly as Trump has done on illegal immigration,” said The Baltimore Sun.Some of his surrogates even suggested last week that the border wall would be “virtual,” consisting of sensors, drones, and other technology. Trump is walking a fine line: He wants to appear “tough” to his base and “humane” to moderates. But after all this flip-flopping, many voters will find it impossible to take his pledges seriously.
What the columnists said
Establishment Republicans “could never get away with” backing away from a key campaign pledge, said Kelly Riddell in The Washington Times. But most Trump supporters “knew all along” their outsider candidate would eventually have to “educate himself on the actual policy behind his rhetoric”—that’s why they don’t mind if he “shifts a bit” on immigration. Besides, Trump’s followers never expected him to deport 11.5 million people, said Emily Ekins in TheFederalist.com. They “care far more about” the border wall— and Trump is sticking with that promise.
“Trump’s deportation problem is the GOP’s deportation problem,” said Greg Sargent in WashingtonPost.com. Most Republican lawmakers actually support a path to legalization, “but the party has refrained from embracing that solution, because the base won’t allow it.” Now Trump is belatedly adopting their “platitudinous ‘enforce the law’ position,” without the mass deportations. Where does that leave him? With the same position as other Republicans: “Leave most of them in the shadows indefinitely.”
For Trump, “the last few days offer a warning about this fall’s debates,” said Peter Beinart in TheAtlantic.com. During the primaries, he offered “quick-fix solutions” on everything from ISIS (“bomb the hell out of them”) to immigration (“build a wall”). His “bumper sticker” slogans were enough to win Republican debates, especially on a crowded debate stage with little time for fleshing out policy details. But now Trump is being forced to “delve into the messy details of actual policy”—and he’s coming up short. When he’s debating policy wonk Hillary Clinton, one-on-one, evasions will be much harder, and “filibustering may not be enough.”
It wasn’t all bad
■ A New Jersey Transit cop is being hailed as a hero after he risked his life to save a suicidal man from an oncoming train. Victor Ortiz was patrolling Secaucus Station when the man jumped off a platform and lay across the track. Ortiz followed the man and tried to persuade him to move, but he refused and clung tightly to a rail. As a train rapidly approached the station, the officer frantically yanked the man’s legs, and—with just seconds to spare— pulled him to safety. Ortiz says he’d do it all again if necessary. “It’s part of the job.”
■For the first time in 52 years, a New York Little League team is officially the greatest in the world. The team from the upstate towns of Maine and Endwell this week finished a perfect 24–0 season by defeating South Korea’s East Seoul 2-1 to win the Little League World Series championship in Williamsport, Pa. Thousands of fans and supporters turned out to give the boys a raucous homecoming celebration. “It was all of our last years in Little League,” says catcher–third baseman Conner Rush, 13, “so it’s just awesome to know [we’re] the best team in the world.”
■ When Colin Ross decided to eat at Whitbie’s Fish & Chips in Lethbridge, Alberta, after a night out, he fell in love with the food. So he was horrified to discover that the eatery could soon close down: Customers were so few and far between that owner John McMillan, 69, couldn’t even pay himself a salary. Eager to help, Ross posted a rave review on Facebook and called on residents to support a great local business. The following day 400 people visited Whitbie’s; the next day, 500 turned up. “The people of Alberta just come together,” said a grateful McMillan. “This is the greatest province.”