Last month, Marc A. Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute published the article Message to the GOP: Trump supports amnesty.

In it, he highlights Eric Trump’s description of his father’s immigration plan:

“The point isn’t just deporting them, it’s deporting them and letting them back in legally. He’s been so clear about that and I know the liberal media wants to misconstrue it, but its deporting them and letting them back legally.”

Which echoes Donald’s previous comments:

“I would get people out and then have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal…. A lot of these people are helping us … and sometimes it’s jobs a citizen of the United States doesn’t want to do. I want to move ’em out, and we’re going to move ’em back in and let them be legal.”

The key word is expedited. An expedited process is another way of saying that illegals are going to cut in line of those who have been waiting for years.

There is no question about it: that constitutes amnesty. Ron Fournier has described Trump’s plan as “gold-plated amnesty.”

Thiessen mentions the fact that this basic idea has been proposed before by moderates and met strong opposition:

“This is a policy called “touchback” and it was first proposed in 2007 by moderate Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX). She offered a “touchback” amendment on the Senate floor that would have required illegal immigrants to return to their home countries to apply for a special “Z visa” that would allow them to reenter the United States in an expedited fashion and work here indefinitely.”

It is unclear, however, whether Trump would give the illegals a legal status or citizenship. And it is a critical distinction, as citizenship involves welfare and voting privileges. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have supported a legal status, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeb Bush have supported citizenship. Ben Carson has wavered between both. All of the major, if not all, of the candidates support some form of amnesty. The appeal to Trump’s supporters was that their candidate didn’t support any amnesty whatsoever.

Whether Trump supporters educate themselves about his immigration position will be key to whether he maintains his lead or falters.

(Promoted from the diaries)