“This is not a reality show,” billionaire Donald Trump said of his presidential candidacy on Sunday. “This is the real deal.”
He’s apparently not kidding. Within minutes of his comments on Meet the Press, Trump released a comprehensive policy plan for immigration reform — something many other Republican candidates have yet to do.
In it, Trump lays out what he plans to do about both border security and the 12 million undocumented immigrants who already live in the United States. Most notably, the plan promises widespread deportation, including the “mandatory return of all criminal aliens,” or undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes.
“We’re going to keep the families together, but they have to go,” he said on Meet the Press. Neither in his interview nor in the plan, however, did Trump say how this would be accomplished.
Trump’s plan said that he would end what’s known as birthright citizenship, which guarantees citizenship to almost all people born within U.S. borders, regardless of the legal status of their parents. That right is guaranteed under the 14th Amendment. A number of other Republican candidates have also expressed support for this idea, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Lindsey Graham.
As for border security, Trump doubled down on his pledge to have Mexico build and pay for an enormous wall across the border. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. would impose various penalties on the Mexican government and its officials until it agreed to build and pay for the wall.
“Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards — of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options].”
Under Trump’s plan, businesses would be required to hire “American workers first”; monetary penalties would be increased for people who overstay their visas; and the J-1 visa jobs program, which allows kids from other countries to participate in things like summer exchange programs, would be terminated. Trump’s plan also calls for tripling the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, which are in charge of enforcing immigration laws.
The plan may be difficult to implement. Many of the initiatives, such as tripling the number of ICE officers, would require huge increases in federal funding — increases that would most likely have to be approved by Congress.
Interestingly, the most frequent source Trump cites to back up the ideas in his plan is the right-wing news site Breitbart News. At least six of the conservative site’s articles are linked to in Trump’s plan, far more than any other source. Trump has done numerous exclusive interviews with the site, which on Sunday reported that his immigration plan would “get Americans back to work.”