The Corner

Trump 2016: ‘No Amnesty As Such’

Free of charge, a suggested bumper sticker for the campaign.

The biggest problem with an amnesty of the sort Trump is talking about is the possibility that it will act as a magnet for future illegal immigrants by persuading them that the U.S. will never enforce its laws (and that they will themselves get an amnesty one day). That’s why any broad amnesty should happen after we have ramped up enforcement, especially at the workplace.

Trump has not specified that his amnesty would be conditional on such enforcement, although Senator Jeff Sessions is trying to spin Trump’s remarks that way. It would not shock me if Trump’s position were to have gone directly from no-amnesty-ever to amnesty-before-enforcement, but he could still land where Sessions wants him to.

Which would give Trump plenty of weeks to rethink his position on trade.

P.S. The immigration flip-flop should also make everyone else rethink how aligned Trump really is with the “alt right.” That’s the topic of my latest Bloomberg column.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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