Immigration: where Republican candidates stand, and where they used to

There are enough moving parts to immigration policy, and enough changes and alleged changes in the candidates’ positions, that it can be hard to keep track of where the candidates stand. I’ve seen a lot of people get tripped up in describing the state of the debate. So here is, as best I can tell and with the assistance of the Numbers USA website, where the candidates at the center of the immigration debate stand, and where they used to stand. I’ll do almost no editorializing.

Trump: He used to say that Republicans were too hostile to Hispanics and Asian-Americans, calling Mitt Romney’s policies “crazy” and “maniacal.” While standing by those remarks, he now argues for deporting all illegal immigrants, building a wall to block further illegal border-crossing, and letting many illegal immigrants come back to the country. (Trump’s son Eric has complained, justifiably in my view, that news coverage has ignored that last feature of Trump’s plan.) The immigration plan on his website, however, is silent about mass deportation and therefore also about letting deported illegal immigrants come back.

The plan comes out for a “moderation” in legal immigration to help Americans get jobs. In interviews and debates, however, Trump has walked away from this feature of his plan.

Trump’s plan also includes mandatory use of the e-verify system to stop companies from hiring illegal immigrants.