Donald Trump
Trump during a campaign rally AFP

Former President and presumptive GOP presidential nominee seemingly took a turn from his usual anti-immigrant rhetoric, proposing to automatically give green cards to all foreigners who graduate from U.S. colleges in a hypothetical second term of his, but his campaign quickly walked back the comments.

"What I want to do and what I will do is you graduate from a college, I think you should get automatically as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country," Trump said during a podcast interview. "And that includes junior colleges, too."

Trump made the comment responding to one of the host's comments about the country needing high-skilled workers. "Can you please promise us you will give us more ability to import the best and brightest around the world to America?" said one of the hosts, to whom Trump gave the answer.

However, a few hours later his campaign press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, walked back the comments. She said in a statement that such a program would include an "aggressive vetting process" excluding all "communists, radical Islamists, Hamas supporters, America haters and public charges." The policy, she added, would only apply to the "most skilled graduates who can make significant contributions to America."

NBC News recalled that despite the claim, visa denials increase during Trump's presidency, making it more difficult for some noncitizens to stay in the country. In 2019, the then-president introduced a merit-based legal immigration system to prioritize those highly-skilled. However, a year later he signed an executive order freezing new visas for foreign workers.

And the statement wasn't a complete about-face from Trump regarding immigration. Shortly before in the podcast, he repeated unfounded claims that most migrants crossing the southern borders are criminals and mentally ill people. It was one of many such statements, a recent one saying that immigrants are stealing jobs and government resources that could go to citizens.

Trump made the claims in Detroit before two contrasting groups: Black voters and hardcore conservatives who have had white supremacists among them. "The people coming across the border — all those millions of people — they're inflicting tremendous harm to our Black population and to our Hispanic population," said Trump during a passage of his speech. "They're invading your jobs," he added.

Later, in reference to violent immigrant gangs, he said members "are not human beings." "They're animals," he added.

Different polls have shown that voters favor Trump over President Joe Biden when it comes to immigration issues. A more recent one showed that even Latinos, who Trump has chastised for years, now do so too. Concretely, an Equis poll showed a 41%-38% in favor of the presumptive GOP candidate.

According to the findings, there is deep concern among Latinos that "Biden and the Democrats make promises about immigration reform during the campaign, but fail to deliver once they win." "Democrats no longer hold advantage among Latino voters when it comes to handling immigration," the poll concludes.

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