Business mogul Donald Trump released an immigration plan this weekend almost exclusively focused on enforcement and cracking down on unauthorized immigrants, including preventing babies born in the U.S. to undocumented parents from U.S. citizenship as guaranteed under the 14th Amendment.
The GOP presidential candidate also repeated a vow to end President Barack Obama's deportation relief policies for parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. He would instead deport those mothers and fathers, he said. Trump insisted it could be done without separating families -- a claim that, although he does not say so explicitly, would effectively mean forcing out children with the right to be in the U.S. if they wanted to remain with their parents.
"We're going to keep the families together, but they have to go," Trump told NBC's Chuck Todd in a "Meet the Press" interview that aired Sunday.
Trump's remarks and immigration plan follow a number of disparaging statements about people living in the U.S. without a valid immigration status, including a claim during his campaign launch that Mexico was sending rapists, criminals and drug smugglers to the U.S.
In his immigration plan, Trump reiterated that he would make the Mexican government pay for a wall between the two countries.
"[T]he Mexican government has taken the United States to the cleaners," the plan reads. "They are responsible for this problem, and they must help pay to clean it up. ... We will not be taken advantage of anymore."
Trump also proposed tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and mandating an electronic verification system for employers to check whether a potential hire or employee has legal status to work. He would also make overstaying a visa a criminal offense, not a civil one. Under his proposal, cities and counties would lose federal law enforcement grants if they did not cooperate with ICE, and visas would be denied to citizens of countries that refused to accept deportees from the U.S.
The U.S. should limit acceptance of refugees and asylum-seekers, Trump added, in favor of what he called a "Refugee program for American children." This proposal would "[u]se the monies saved on expensive refugee programs to help place American children without parents in safer homes and communities, and to improve community safety in high crime neighborhoods in the United States."
Overall, he proposed that legal immigration should be restricted.
"We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers in order to: help wages grow, get teenagers back to work, aid minorities’ rise into the middle class, help schools and communities falling behind, and to ensure our immigrant members of the national family become part of the American dream," the proposal states.