Donald Trump Immigration Plan: 5 Highlights From GOP Candidate’s First Policy Paper

Donald Trump
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump released his first policy paper, focusing on immigration. He's likely to release more positions as part of his campaign. REUTERS/Jim Young

Following criticism that Donald Trump’s immigration proposals have been short on specifics, the Republican presidential candidate has released and written policy proposal complete with citations, statistics and references . It’s the most detailed look yet at the candidate's full-blown nativists stance, which has captured the attention of many supporters. The outlines three principles , saying that a nation that does “not serve its own citizens”, is “without borders,” or is “without laws” is “not a nation.” How does Trump  intend to serve America’s citizens, strengthen borders and enforce laws?

Most of the paper is an amalgam of existing ideas : increase immigration enforcement and ramp up punishments. What stands out in Trump’s proposal is his focus on Mexico, and his willingness to threaten unprecedented diplomatic actions against. And it’s not just about building a wall; Trump threatens to cancel visa and shut down trade with Mexico as well. While Bloomberg referred to Trump’s immigration proposals as the Republican “ dream plan ,” it’s nativism and protectionism is not likely to sit well with pro-business conservatives. Below, we’ve got five highlights from Trump’s full proposal .

1) Make Mexico Pay For A Border Wall

Donald Trump says that he’d pay for the multi-billion dollar border fence by exacting money from Mexico. He would block remittances by immigrants in the country illegally, charge more money at ports of entry, and increase visa fees for Mexican nationals including NAFTA workers, CEOs and diplomats.

Trump’s policy paper still doesn’t offer any financial arguments, or specifics on enforcement. As we pointed out in last week’s article on tariffs, the numbers -- not addressed in Trump’s speeches or this paper -- don’t add up. Also, he doesn’t address the issue of Central American migrants who as of 2014 make up the majority of illegal entries.

2) Mass Deportations; Triple The Number Of ICE Officers

Trump acknowledges in his paper that the number of Border Patrol officers has tripled in size since 2001, but wants to increase the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that deal with removal of immigrants already in the country illegally. Specifically, he wants to expand a section of ICE known as Enforcement and Removal Operations.

Critics of ICE say that overzealous removal operations have been inhumane, and not just to illegal immigrants. The ERO has been criticized in the past for everything from separating nursing mothers from their children to locking up American citizens and legal permanent residents.

Trump’s paper also doesn’t address the failures of previous enforcement increases. If tripling Border Patrol agents  in the past decade hasn’t helped on the border, how can tripling ICE ERO agents be serve as a silver bullet?

3) Increase Criminal Punishments

Trump proposes increasing punishments and creating new categories of crimes. For example, the proposal calls for “enhanced penalties” for visa overstays, which he calls “a threat to national security.” While Trump points to terrorist acts committed by immigrants legally in the country -- the Boston Marathon Bombings and the 9/11 Attacks -- he does not cite any examples of terrorist attacks by persons in the country legally.

Under his plan, additional punishments would be levied against immigrants who commit crimes if they are in the country illegally. The proposals are likely to anger prison reform advocates who point to swelling incarceration numbers for minor crimes like drug possession.

4) Trump Takes Shots At Republican Rival Marco Rubio

Trump has taken plenty of shots at Republican rivals ( Jeb Bush , Rick Perry ) during the course of his campaign, but Marco Rubio is the only one named specifically in his immigration proposal. Rubo gets two mentions, first for his role as an architect of the failed 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, and second as a supporter of merit-based immigration visas. Trump opposes H-1B visas, a category often utilized by tech companies.

“Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities,” the proposal states.

5) Eliminate Or Curb Immigration Programs For Refugees, Students

Trump proposes cutting back on asylum seekers fleeing persecution, saying that “the monies saved on expensive refugee programs” should be used to help American orphans. Again, Trump doesn’t offer any cost analysis. He would also eliminate the J-1 Visa program.

More To Come?

Trump’s immigration proposal was listed on his website under the heading “positions,” plural. While this is his first and currently only policy proposal, it looks like Trump supporters (and Trump watchers) will have more specifics to look forward to in the future.

What do you think?