I've been told by people who support Donald Trump that "there are jobs Americans won't do" is practically the worst thing you can say. I am also told by many Donald Trump supporters that if you support the idea that you have to look at each of the 12-15 million illegal immigrants who are currently here individually and make an individual determination of whether they get to stay or not, as opposed to summarily deporting them all, then you are not a real conservative.
You know who disagreed with both of those positions in 2011? Donald Trump. Here he is first on Larry King in 2011. Now Trump, even then, was saying that you need to build a wall and "militarize the border." But back then, he had a decidedly more, shall we say, nuanced position on immigration.
Trump: And they're (Arizona) saying, you have to get them out, you need laws. We have no one, nobody even knows what the law is. People are streaming across the border, and sometimes it's the drug dealers, and what's happening now, the drug dealers are coming in, and that's a big problem. They're coming in and they're killing.
King: You also have American interests hiring them.
Trump: Uh, you have American interests hiring them, absolutely. And in many cases they're great workers. The biggest problem is that you have some great, wonderful people coming in from Mexico, that are working the crops, they're working, cutting lawns...
King: Jobs Americans won't do.
Trump: They're doing a lot of jobs that I'm not sure that a lot of Americans are going to take those jobs. And that's the dichotomy, that's the big problem. Because you have a lot of great people coming in doing a lot of work and I'm not so sure that a lot of other people are going to be doing that work. So it is a very tough problem.
And now here he is explaining to Bill O'Reilly in the same year that you have to consider each and every illegal immigrant individually before determining whether you're going to deport them or not.
O'Reilly: Now, the 15 million illegal immigrants who are already in the United States: what do you do with them?
Trump: I think right now you're going to have to do something - and, you know, it's hard to generalize, but you're going to have to look at the individual people, see how they've done, see how productive they've been, see what their references are, and then make a decision.
O'Reilly: Alright. On a case by case basis? That's going to take a long time, there's a lot of people.
Trump: Yes, but you know, you have some great, productive people who came over, and then you have some total disasters that probably should be in prison.
I don't really know that you can interpret this any other way than as making the case for amnesty, quite frankly.
As with every other part of the conservative coalition who is deceiving themselves into believing that Trump would be on their side during the election, the immigration hardliners are deceiving themselves by hitching their wagon to Trump.
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