Top Stories
Top Stories

Trump feels the BAM on immigration

Trump on immigration: I'll do like Obama

All politicians adjust their positions to win votes. That's what makes them politicians.

But now, on immigration, Donald Trump is attempting an adjustment that can only be described as huge on a Trumpian scale.

Remember that immigration was the signature issue of Trump's successful Republican primary campaign. He repeatedly portrayed illegal immigrants from Mexico as a criminal scourge on immigrant American communities.

He blasted the policy of President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Republican rivals as a weak-willed "disaster" tantamount to "open borders." He vowed to build a wall along the Mexican border and deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants now believed to be in the country.

Getty Images

Now Trump trails Clinton in the polls, both nationally and in battleground states. In this week's NBC/Survey Monkey tracking poll, the bombastic billionaire is behind by 8 percentage points as he draws just 22 percent among Latinos to Clinton's 73 percent.

Facing the need to build his support, he adopted a strikingly different new tone in this interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly: "The existing laws are very strong," Trump declined. "We're going to get rid of all of the bad ones. We've got gang members, we have killers, we have a lot of bad people that have to get out of this country.

"As far as everybody else, we're going to go through the process. What people don't know is that Obama got tremendous numbers of people out of the country, Bush the same thing. Lots of people were brought out of the country with the existing laws.

"Well, I'm going to do the same thing," he concluded. "We're going to go through the process like they are now, perhaps with a lot more energy."

Doing "the same thing" as Obama with "more energy" may not be what some of Trump's supporters have in mind. With just this issue in mind, I asked Trump in CNBC's Speakeasy interview last year how he would address disappointment among his backers if he makes it to the Oval Office.

"I will not disappoint those people," he insisted.