Trump forces GOP candidates to debate immigration reform

Donald Trump ignited a national conversation on both immigration and the 14th amendment with the release of his controversial immigration plan. The six page document includes a strict deportation policy for those who overstay their visa limit, a substantial increase in border officers, as well as the discontinuation of birthright citizenship.

Although it is important to note Trump has not explained how he would pay for these new policies (which some analysts concluded could be extremely expensive and unrealistic), the release of his plan has forced the other GOP candidates to reiterate and expand on their positions regarding immigration.

Birthright citizenship is derived from the 14th amendment which states the citizenship is granted to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States.” Trump told Bill O’Reilly that he believes this is unconstitutional.

“It’s not going to hold up in court,” Trump said on The Factor Tuesday, reports Yahoo News.

His fellow GOP contenders used less controversial rhetoric. Scott Walker and Ted Cruz both appear to dislike birthright citizenship, but stopped short of calling it unconstitutional.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who last week seemed to indicate that he, too, was in favor of ending birthright citizenship, said on Sunday he has no plans to change the 14th Amendment.

“No,” Walker said when asked by Stephanopoulos if he would repeal or alter the amendment, reports Yahoo Politics.

Carly Fiorina tried to shift the conversation away from one specific policy.

Every campaign, candidates “hold up some bright, shiny object — ‘Oh, let’s talk about birthright citizenship,’ ” Carly Fiorina said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Let us focus our political energies on doing what the government is responsible for doing, secure the border, and fix the legal immigration system,” according to the Associated Press.

Standing apart from the crowd was Jeb Bush, who supports a way for illegal aliens to become citizens.

But in reality, Bush, … has actually maintained most of his pro-immigration tone and more moderate stands on other issues, even amid the rise of Trump in polls. Bush continues to insist that he favors a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants. He this week defended granting citizenship to children born in the United States, even if their parents came here illegally, while several other GOP 2016 candidates aligned themselves with Trump’s call to rethink birthright citizenship, reports NBC News.

The feasibility of Trump’s immigration plan has taken a backseat in the national conversation. By forcing his opponents to respond to his plan, Trump is leading the dialogue and therefore able to skirt outlining major details such as funding.

Was this a well-thought out tactic, or just good luck? Since it’s Trump, we’ll probably never know.


[National Public Radio] [Yahoo News] [Yahoo Politics] [Associated Press] [Photo courtesy Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images]