What is Trump doing on immigration?

It seems that Donald Trump is trying to look a bit more statesmanlike, more presidential with the Mexico visit and kinda more reasonable (or maybe not so much) talks about immigration. Do you see this approach may for in his favor or not, and why? Read few comments?


Matthew Eshbaugh-SohaAssistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of North Texas

One of the best ways that presidential candidates can appear more statesmanlike or, as we might say, more presidential, is a trip to a foreign nation and to visit with a leader of that nation.  This provides those presidential photo-ops and, given that much of the US Presidency has a strong stylistic element to it, this is a good symbolic opportunity for Donald Trump.  This certainly provides an opportunity for candidate trump to appear more presidential, but we will see how the visit goes.  Trump’s bombastic approach to campaigning is risky, as his many recent blunders illustrate.

His talk on immigration is very confusing, however.  I understand what he is doing—saying what he needs to so that he can keep his base happy (build the wall!), while trying to appear more centrist on the issue, more compassionate to appeal to the larger middle in the United States on this issue.  But it is not clear that he has a coherent policy or position on the issue.  Perhaps he has not yet articulated it.  At this point, people are going to hear what they want to hear on immigration.  The problem with this is that without a clear and specific vision for a top issue facing the US, he is unlikely going to be able to persuade undecided voters to support him.

David McCuan, Professor of Political Science, Sonoma State University

As we enter the full-throated cycle of the 2016 election cycle – with two major party candidates who are among the most unfavorable, negatively-perceived candidates in modern U.S. History – we are at a critical juncture.

This meeting today in Mexico was a direct, active attempt by the Trump campaign to help their candidate appear “presidential” amidst this negative environment, while also providing an active pivot point from tonight’s immigration speech.

Much is on the line for Donald Trump as we head into the “traditional” Presidential campaign kickoff date of Labor Day weekend (05 September).

Election Day is really right around the corner. We are less than 10 weeks away.

Given that the demographics of the United States are changing in dramatic ways and that we are seeing new voter registration numbers tick upwards in many battleground states, we do know that as many as 39 million votes will be cast by minority voters in the 2016 election. That’s historic – and we have been waiting for particular voter subsets to show up on Election Day, particularly Hispanic voters.

Gov. Mitt Romney got 27% of Hispanic vote in 2012, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. The GOP needs just about 38% of the Hispanic vote to win the presidency. This number seems much less likely to be gained by Donald Trump, let alone the percentage garnered by Mitt Romney in 2012.

But does the move to a centrist position, alienate the base and the primarily white voters that nominated Trump as the GOP candidate? Does a move to the middle – necessary in a General Election – alienate a base and many white, working class voters that the Trump campaign also hopes to have as their own voters? Their campaign needs a higher white, working class voter turnout in order to overcome any shortfalls among non-white voters that the campaign does expect to occur.

Gary FreemanProfessor Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin

Trump’s outbursts at the onset of the primaries about immigration were not well considered or practical, but they propelled him into the most interesting candidate for either party. He rather crudely identified a problem that has rarely been articulated by a major political figure. There is great discontent among the American public over the way immigration policy has been carried out by both parties. For decades a majority of Americans opposed mass immigration and especially illegal immigration but their sentiments were drowned out by the elite media and ethnic interests.

Immigration legal and illegal is rapidly changing America’s demography. Both major parties stood by as this was happening. They never allowed a serious discussion whether such changes were desirable. It took a maverick like Trump to break the cole of political correctness. But his early statements were too extreme and made him subject to an inferno of backlash. His speech last night was remarkable. Without backing off any serious idea to reform immigration, he softened his terms just enough to have at least the chance of winning over some Republicans who were put off by his earlier comments. It was the most detailed and well-stated speech on immigration reform ever given by a major candidate for president. I think the MX visit and the speech help him but the elites are unlikely to change their minds.

Néstor Rodríguez, Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin

I think his new diplomatic approach may help him get more votes from those who were undecided on who to vote for in the election. He may not seem so extremist for them.



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