Guest Host: Cecilia Kang

U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto prepare to deliver a joint press conference in Mexico City on August 31.

U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto prepare to deliver a joint press conference in Mexico City on August 31.

Under a Donald Trump presidency, there would be only one route to legal status for immigrants in the United States: to return home and apply for re-entry. In a speech last night in Phoenix, the Republican nominee for president took a hardline conservative position on immigration: zero tolerance for immigrants who commit crimes, an end to sanctuary cities and certain visas, and a new ideological test for entry. Still, he was short on specifics. He renewed his promise to build an “impenetrable, physical wall”—paid for by Mexico. But hours earlier, during a visit to Mexico, the country’s president pledged to work with the U.S., but not subsidize a barrier. An update on the Republican presidential nominee’s proposals on immigration, illegal drugs and trade.


  • Mark Krikorian Executive director, Center for Immigration Studies
  • Angela Kelley Executive director, Center for American Progress Action Fund; senior vice president, Center for American Progress
  • Jude Joffe-Block Senior field correspondent, KJZZ in Phoenix and Fronteras Desk, a network of stations covering immigration and border issues in the Southwest.
  • Margaret Sands Orchowski Congressional reporter, Hispanic Outlook Magazine; author, "Immigration and the American Dream: Battling the Political Hype and Hysteria" and "The Law That Changed The Face of America: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965."
  • Beth Reinhard National politics reporter, The Wall Street Journal.


  • 10:06:54

    MS. CECILIA KANGThanks for joining us. I'm Cecilia Kang sitting in for Diane Rehm. Donald Trump spent recent weeks wavering on some of his views on immigration, but in a speech last night in Phoenix, he returned to the tough stance that helped launch his campaign for president. No amnesty, more security and a southern border wall, though who would pay for the project is still unclear.

  • 10:07:17

    MS. CECILIA KANGEarlier, in a trip to Mexico, he pledged to work with the country's president, but the leaders offered different accounts on their conversation. Here to talk about Trump's plan for immigration is Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, Angela Kelley, senior vice president of the Center for American Progress, Beth Reinhard, a national politics reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

  • 10:07:43

    MS. CECILIA KANGAnd Margaret Sands Orchowski, an author and congressional reporter for Hispanic Outlook magazine. But first, joining us by phone is Jude Joffe-Block, a senior field correspondent for KJZZ in Phoenix and  Fronteras Desk, a network of stations covering immigration and border issues in the Southwest. Thanks for being with us.

  • 10:08:08

    MS. BETH REINHARDThanks for having us.

  • 10:08:08

    MS. ANGELA KELLEYThank you.

  • 10:08:08


  • 10:08:09

    MS. JUDE JOFFE-BLOCKThank you.

  • 10:08:11

    KANGWe'll be taking your comments, questions throughout the hour. Call us on 800-433-8850. Send us your email at Join us on Facebook or Twitter. So Jude, you were on the floor at the rally last night. What parts of Trump's speech had the largest reaction from the crowd?

  • 10:08:33

    JOFFE-BLOCKSo the number one point that Trump outlined in his ten-point plan was he reiterated the plan to build a wall along the southern border of Mexico. He got big cheers for that and even bigger cheers when he repeated that Mexico would pay for the wall. He said, they don't know it yet, but they'll pay for it and the crowd really liked that.

  • 10:08:54

    KANGAnd what -- Trump was also met by some protestors. Who where they?

  • 10:09:00

    JOFFE-BLOCKSo I saw something last night that I hadn't seen before from the -- from protesters. There were immigrants rights group out protesting and what they decided to do was performance of indigenous dance with drums, dances from Mexico. And they said that their idea was so showcase their cultural roots and show that their culture was greater than what they call Trump's hate.

  • 10:09:28

    KANGThat's interesting. And you know, this was a symbolic speech for Trump, both for his immigration policy and for his relationship with Arizona. In fact, Arizona is where he launched his campaign for president in July 2015. Why was this event held in Arizona particularly important?

  • 10:09:47

    JOFFE-BLOCKRight. This was the exact same convention center in downtown Phoenix where Trump came in July of 2015. That was a just a month after he launched his presidential bid. He held a rally here in Phoenix in July of 2015 on illegal immigration and, you know, a lot of people were really fired up. They were excited to see a candidate taking on this issue and as we saw throughout the primary, that issue got a lot of traction and here we are today.

  • 10:10:15

    JOFFE-BLOCKSo this was kind of a return in the circle back to his roots where it kind of all began.

  • 10:10:22

    KANGAnd, of course, Arizona is an important state in this election. It has a reputation for taking a hard line on immigration, but that's changed somewhat. Is that right?

  • 10:10:32

    JOFFE-BLOCKWell, you know, the demographics are shifting in Arizona so on the one hand, Arizona became nationally known as a state with hard line policies on immigration. Our state legislators were trying, in the mid 2000s, to come up with ways to combat illegal immigration as a state, even though the issue has traditionally been handled by the federal government. So we got this reputation as kind of, you know, being on the front lines of the illegal immigration issue, especially being a border state.

  • 10:11:03

    JOFFE-BLOCKBut at the same time, the demographics are shifting. We're seeing more and more young Latinos becoming eligible to vote. As time goes on, the majority of children in our state are minority, while the majority of the older population in our state are whites. And so we're seeing this shift happening and some believe that, you know, this could be a year where the voting patterns start to change and analysts are putting Arizona in the battleground category this 2016 election.

  • 10:11:36

    JOFFE-BLOCKAnd some analysts are saying this could impact down ballot races as well, John McCain facing a Democratic challenger and polls indicating that it will be a closer race. So we're starting to see some of the language of politics potentially beginning to change here.

  • 10:11:51

    KANGOkay. And one of the people that introduced Trump last night was Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Why does his role in this campaign matter?

  • 10:12:00

    JOFFE-BLOCKSo Arpaio is known as a great ally of Donald Trump and, of course, he was known before as a hard line immigration enforcer. He's known nationally. He has a huge fan base all over the country, but he also, here, has a lot of enemies in the form if immigrant rights groups. He was found to have racially profiled Latinos in his efforts to enforce immigration law and he's also facing potential criminal charges, criminal contempt of court charges for defying a judge in that racial profiling case.

  • 10:12:33

    JOFFE-BLOCKSo he's quite a polarizing character here. He's also running for reelection. He'll be on the ballot in November. And some analysts are pointing out that with Arpaio on the ballot, with Trump on the ballet, with shifting demographics that there could be a backlash vote from the growing Latino population in Arizona against some of this hard line immigration rhetoric. So, at the same time, you know, Arpaio did just win his primary, kind of by 40 points last night in the Republican primary so he still has a very strong Republican base here. But, again, you know, we're seeing this polarization.

  • 10:13:13

    KANGJude, thanks so much for joining us and giving us a view of what's happening on the ground there in Arizona.

  • 10:13:18

    JOFFE-BLOCKThank you.

  • 10:13:19

    KANGLet's turn to our panel. I'll start with you, Beth. Trump described his own speech last night as a detailed policy analysis. What, actually, did we hear?

  • 10:13:29

    REINHARDHe did offer some new details and did a lot of repeating of things that he has said before. But it definitely was the most detail we've had so far on his immigration speech. I would say one of the most notable new points that he made is that people who come into the country illegally and are arrested, not necessarily convicted, but are arrested, are subject to deportation. That was something we had not heard before.

  • 10:13:57

    KANGOkay, so that was new.

  • 10:13:58

    REINHARDThat was new. And certainly, I think, would, you know, would test some Constitutional questions there. The other thing that was new was the use of the term ideological certification. He had described that before, but that was a -- that term itself was new and this, he had said before in a speech. He's been talking for a few weeks now about only letting people in who share our values and who love America. But he went farther last night with that, talking about we should only choose those who would flourish here.

  • 10:14:34

    REINHARDChoose those with merit, as if there would be some kind of criteria based on, I don’t know, how smart you are, how well you speak English, what your skills are, that I think would also trouble civil libertarians on that.

  • 10:14:49

    KANGAbsolutely. Ideological certification, Mark, what does that mean? How could that even be evaluated?

  • 10:14:57

    MR. MARK KRIKORIANWell, I'm not sure what the certification part -- I think it's probably the wrong noun, but the fact is we already do that sort of thing for citizenship. In other words, if you're already a legal resident and are applying to be a citizen, you have to satisfy the immigration service that you are, as the law says, attached to the principles of the Constitution. In other words, it's not just that you're not a terrorist or something like that, you have to show that you actually believe in the values of a free society.

  • 10:15:29

    MR. MARK KRIKORIANWhat this idea of ideological screening or values screening suggests is simply pushing that existing filter upstream so that it would apply to people considering -- that we are considering to let live here and join our society, even if they're not going to be voting yet. And I think, you know, that's perfectly logical. I mean, it's the kind of thing you want to set a pretty low bar on. It's not a are you in favor of high taxes, low taxes?

  • 10:15:56

    MR. MARK KRIKORIANIt's not a political test. It's do you believe in killing gays? Do you believe people should be free to change their religion or not have a religion? Those kind of basic value questions. And if you don't believe that, you have no business in a free society.

  • 10:16:11

    KANGAngie, can you jump in here and tell us your thoughts on how that could be executed, this idea of an ideological test in a way that does not, you know, trounce on your civil liberties?

  • 10:16:24

    KELLEYYeah. I mean, like, I don't think it can be. I think it's mind-boggling to consider that we're going to try to screen and look into the hearts and minds of an incoming newcomer and try to project what they will be like down the road. I mean, this isn't like a test that we can just move up and here, take it now. I mean, there's something quite wonderful about when people do naturalize because they have been in the United States, by definition, for at least three, maybe five years as a legal resident.

  • 10:16:57

    KELLEYThey do have to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. I mean, one of my most precious childhood memories is going to my mother's nationalization ceremony. And I don't think anybody is looking to change that, but who's looking for dramatic change is Donald Trump. I mean, what he did last night is double down on deportations and in a rather extraordinary way, you know, it's like doing by pep rally trying to put forward policy, he has laid out an apocalyptic view of the country where he is associating immigrants, Latinos, with criminals and with all things bad.

  • 10:17:41

    KELLEYAnd I mean, so there's not a lot really new in his policy. I mean, it's very much based on the philosophy of let's get rid of all of them. And I think, though, that, you know, stepping back, it's a pretty terrifying prospect of how he's talking about treating newcomers.

  • 10:17:56

    KANGWe'll come back to some more of those details. Coming up, more of our conversation on the immigration policies outlined by Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

  • 10:20:02

    KANGWelcome back. I'm Cecilia Kang of The New York Times sitting in for Diane Rehm. I am joined by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, Peggy Sands Orchowski, congressional reporter for Hispanic Outlook Magazine and author of "Immigration and the American Dream: Battling the Political Hype and Hysteria" and another book, "The Law That Changed The Face of America: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965." Beth Reinhard, the national politics reporter for The Wall Street Journal also joins me in studio. By phone, Angie Kelley, the executive director for the Center for American Progress Action fund and senior vice president for the senior -- for the Center for American Progress.

  • 10:20:45

    KANGI'd like to get back to some of the nuts and bolts of what was discussed yesterday by Donald Trump. He did outline what would be maybe about 10 points to his policy. The -- it seems like what the audience really wanted to hear was about the wall. They wanted to hear about who would pay for it, particularly given the visit to Mexico earlier that day. But there were some other specifics. Can you talk to me, Beth, about the -- actually, Peggy, about the biometric entry and exit visa tracking system, for example, and stopping issuing visas to any country where adequate screening cannot occur -- some of the -- more of the details that you heard yesterday.

  • 10:21:22

    ORCHOWSKIWell, I cover Congress. And I've been covering them for over 10 years. And I've also covered both of the Republican and Democratic conventions. And it's very interesting because there is really a clear difference between Republicans and Democrats on this immigration issue. And Trump is very much appealing and following the Republican agenda, which is basically, their main outlook is to stop illegal immigration. And so some of these -- some of his suggestions -- and it's not, it goes way beyond the wall -- is -- are some other factors that could stop illegal immigration in the future. It's not just illegal immigrants that are here now, but stopping it in the future.

  • 10:22:16

    KRIKORIANYeah. And I think the -- one of the specifics you had mentioned is key to this stopping the future flow. Because that's really the primary question, not what do we do about illegals here, but how do we make sure we don't have 12 million more. And this visa-tracking or exit-tracking systems, the key point here -- and it sounds kind of wonkish and detailed, but it's really one of the most important parts of any policy to control illegal immigration -- and that is, because most of the 1,000 illegal immigrants a day who settle in the United States -- it's about 1,000 a day -- most of them come in legally on some kind of visa, whether they're tourists, or they may be using Mexican border crossing cards, but it's some kind of lawful entry.

  • 10:23:00

    KRIKORIANBut they end up overstaying. They don't leave when their time is up. And we don't have a particularly effective way of checking people out. We check them in much better than we used to. But the checkout part is largely absent. And if you don't check visitors out, you don't know who's still here. And that is the biggest source of illegal immigration, more than the border now, even though it didn't used to be that way.

  • 10:23:26

    ORCHOWSKILet me add to that -- because the focus of my magazine, The Hispanic Outlook, is on higher education -- this year is going to be a record year for foreign students. There will be over a million foreign students or foreign nationals studying in the United States on foreign-student visas. They're -- they are -- come in on their visas, they're checked in. There is supposed to be a tracking system called SEVIS. But there's nothing to track them when they're not in the schools -- when they've withdrawn, they graduate, nobody knows what's happened to them. And I think probably a good number of these increasing number of people who are here illegally, who came in legally, are foreign students.

  • 10:24:12

    ORCHOWSKIAnd many of them take jobs that Americans want very much. It's gone beyond, well, they're working in bend-over labor in the fields that nobody wants to do.

  • 10:24:23

    KANGAngie, what stood out to you last -- in last night's speech, in terms of his policy proposals?

  • 10:24:29

    KELLEYWell, I -- as you mentioned, the build the wall and Mexico is going to pay for it seems to be where he, you know, can't help but go and is wildly popular with his base and is completely out of step with what the Mexican president said after they met.

  • 10:24:48

    KANGYes. And let's just review for our, you know, out listeners. He said that one of the first things President Pena Nieto said, one of the first things he told Mr. Trump during his meeting was, we are not paying for a wall. This morning, I should say that nominee Trump just -- he tweeted that Mexico will pay for the wall and that after his speech his poll numbers went way up. But go ahead, Angie.

  • 10:25:11

    KELLEYYeah. So I think it's -- it is about that. I think it's about him trying to get his poll numbers up. But I don't think it's going to be with a lot of people. I mean contrary to what Peggy just said, I don't think that Trump is in line with where Republican voters are. I mean there was a recent poll just done by Gallup that shows that 76 percent of Republicans favor a path to citizenship. They want to do something sensible with the 11 million. So that's where Republican voters are. Sixty-six percent of all voters oppose a mass deportation. And I guess that's what's really important, right? Is, like, what didn't he say last night?

  • 10:25:46


  • 10:25:46

    KELLEYAnd he didn't talk about the issue that he kept raising for the last 15 months, which is what do you do with the 11 million?

  • 10:25:53

    KANGRight. The 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.

  • 10:25:58

    KELLEYYeah. I mean I guess I would say he did tell us what he would do with about 750,000 immigrant youth that have come forward and applied for the Deferred Action program, who have work authorizations in this country. He said he would take that away. So I think what he's put squarely in the crosshairs are all undocumented immigrants. Now, how he will do that? How that's going to be paid for? What do you do about people who want to come in the future, so we have folks coming with visas and not smugglers? I mean it lacks any thoughtfulness. And what it really felt like, it was meant to be a pep rally to scare people, making a lot of promises.

  • 10:26:39

    KANGBeth, I'm going to let you jump in here. What did you not hear that you were really hoping to hear more about?

  • 10:26:47

    REINHARDWell, his argument that the central issue is not the 11 million at the top of the speech, I think was his way to deflect what has been, you know, a steady drumbeat of questions on that. And the questions were warranted because of language that he, himself, used and language that his advisers use. His campaign manager, just a week and a half ago, said that question was to be determined. Trump has spoke, you know, on cable television in the last week or so about, you know, softening. He's used that word. He's talked about not wanting to break up families and people with jobs and focusing on criminals. That nuance was totally lost last night.

  • 10:27:30

    REINHARDHowever, he did not say how he was going -- he didn't talk about rounding people up. But he also said everyone who comes here illegally is subject to deportation. So how do you reconcile that? I, you know, that -- that's -- that will be our next question at Donald Trump's press conference I guess.

  • 10:27:47


  • 10:27:48

    KANGCecilia, it's important to note that everyone who's here illegally is always subject to deportation, every minute that they're here illegally. But that doesn't mean that all of them magically are going to be deported all at once. That's not the way law enforcement or government policy works. And Beth is right, that Trump created this problem because of his own sloppy and undisciplined talk about we're going to deport everybody in two years with a deportation force and all this stuff. That was never in his immigration platform on his website, which has been there for a year.

  • 10:28:18


  • 10:28:18

    KRIKORIANWhich I don't think he read before a couple of days ago. He was just making this stuff up. And so, in a sense, he did walk back from that. But without -- but what he didn't say is, okay, this is how we're going to amnesty people. He said, we have to fix the problem first. Then we have a conversation about the illegal immigrants who are left, whether we -- what kind of -- how we deal with them. And that's the way, I mean, it seems to me that's -- it's like the metaphor I use is, you have a hole in your boat, it's taking on water. You don't have a debate about how to bail it out. You fix the hole first, then you figure how you're going to bail it out.

  • 10:28:52

    KANGBeth, you want to jump in?

  • 10:28:54

    REINHARDYeah. I was going to say, he also laid out a few specifics on hiring more immigration officers, hiring more border agents. He talks about the creation of a deportation task force. And all I could think of was, this is a Republican nominee describing a bigger government that needs more money to do its job. And I think, Mark will correct me if I'm right, was it 40 billion in the Gang of Eight bill for border enforcement?

  • 10:29:26

    KRIKORIANYeah. I'll, yes.

  • 10:29:27

    REINHARDYeah. Which I think...

  • 10:29:28

    KRIKORIANThat was just political stuff.

  • 10:29:30


  • 10:29:30

    KRIKORIANNo one believed that was going to actually make it to the end.

  • 10:29:32

    REINHARDRight. Right. So Trump has never really addressed that question of how he would pay for all of these things. He's deflected the question about how he would pay for the wall, of course, by saying Mexico would pay for it. Though, last night, he talked about it being done at a reasonable cost.

  • 10:29:47

    KRIKORIANWell, his immigration plan, like I said, has been on his website for a year, talks about if Mexico doesn't pony up the money -- which is obviously not going to happen -- you would increase visa fees and put a tax on, withhold on the remittances sent to Mexico, that kind of thing. I don't know, I mean, but those at least are real-world policies as opposed to, you know, the president of Mexico writing a check, which is just kind of laughable. I'm not even sure why the Mexicans object to it. They should just say -- they should just laugh at it. Because it's sort of...

  • 10:30:16


  • 10:30:17

    KRIKORIAN...I mean, I understand that it's an applause line. But it is kind of silly. Everybody knows it's not going to happen.

  • 10:30:21

    KANGHe actually offered a few more details about this wall, this future wall he envisions. Is that right?

  • 10:30:28

    REINHARDWell, he used the word physical and impenetrable. And I think, in part, that was because, once again, his advisers had kind of muddled the issue by talking about a virtual wall. And so he wanted to make it clear, no, he -- I'm talking about bricks and mortar. And don't you worry about that. You will not be able to penetrate this wall. And that, of course, as Mark said, is one of his biggest applause lines.

  • 10:30:51

    KELLEYOne thing that's really stunning though, I mean, if we just get back again to the core issue of, how are we going to fix a system that we all agree is broken? And front and center in that debate are people who are here without status. And again, he -- a subject that he has brought up repeatedly. And there's -- like, he just glossed over that. So I don't see a workable solution coming out of the mouth of Donald Trump. What I do see is him stirring up a lot of negative association with Latinos and immigrants and criminals and people taking your jobs and people doing bad things. I mean, the picture that he painted was absolutely terrifying.

  • 10:31:38

    KELLEYAnd what he glosses over is what the facts are, right? It's not a factory debate. And so far, it's been about Donald Trump's feelings. Immigrants are learning English at a faster rate than ever before. They're buying homes. They're starting businesses. They're intermarrying. They're moving up the economic ladder. So what we have is actually a success story, which has been the genius of this nation since its beginning. And he's trying to terrify us all, rather than, like, look, let's work to fix the problems. But, like, let's lean in to what we're doing right so far.

  • 10:32:09

    KANGAnd that's Angela Kelley for the Center of American Progress. I'm Cecilia Kang. You're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." If you'd like to join us, call 1-800-433-8850. Or send an email to Find us on Facebook or send us a tweet.

  • 10:32:29

    KANGI'd like to get Bob from Tallahassee, Fla., who's phoned in to give us his impressions of the speech last night.

  • 10:32:38

    BOBYes. Good morning. How are you?

  • 10:32:39

    KANGGood morning. Thanks for joining us.

  • 10:32:41

    BOBYes. Let's look at the bottom line here. I hear all these discussions on the -- these issues. But the bottom line is this, we have laws that enforce immigration. We've had people that have been in Congress and in power for 30, 40 years, that haven't enforced any of this. We had ICE -- they had ICE back off of a lot of things that -- on this immigration stuff. It's just ridiculous. I mean, if we -- building a wall. If you look over in Europe, they're building walls now. They don't want the people from Syria coming into their country. They're seeing the problems over there. We've always had this problem in Mexico. If you go to Mexico and you're illegal, they throw you in jail. I mean, it's just -- it's common sense.

  • 10:33:20

    KANGAnd, Bob, you...

  • 10:33:20

    BOBIf you're here illegally -- yes?

  • 10:33:21

    KANGAnd you support the candidate Trump, is that right?

  • 10:33:25

    BOBAbsolutely. Absolutely.

  • 10:33:26

    KANGAnd what are you hearing from him that you think could -- can solve some of these problems? Because, as you say, the laws have been around for ages. What new and different needs to happen?

  • 10:33:35

    BOBI'm hearing him say that he's going to start enforcing the laws. You know, we have sanctuary cities. We have, you know, we have people against Joe Arpaio over in Phoenix area enforcing the law. We have the federal government saying, don't enforce the law. I mean, it's a law. If you rob a bank, you go to jail. If you're coming here illegally, you've broken the law, you know?

  • 10:33:53

    KANGThanks, Bob. Peggy, how are Republicans, Democrats, seeing the immigration issue different -- issue differently? And can you outline what the main differences are between the immigration policy proposals by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Democratic -- I mean, and Republican candidate Donald Trump?

  • 10:34:12

    ORCHOWSKIWell, it's really interesting comparing the platforms. You get a really clear view. So the Republicans, their emphasis is that immigration must serve the national interest and the rule of law. The Democrats say that -- and their sub-head for immigration is, immigration and the rule of law. Rule of law is a really big thing for Republicans and -- just as this gentleman was saying. Democrats talk about a broken immigration system and that immigration is there to meet families' needs as well as to maintain the U.S. role as a beacon of hope for people seeking safety, freedom and security.

  • 10:34:59

    ORCHOWSKISo their attitude towards illegal immigration -- Democrats never talk about stopping illegal immigration. The main way they want to deal with illegal immigration is to legalize everyone who's here illegally. They you don't have illegal immigration anymore.

  • 10:35:12


  • 10:35:14

    ORCHOWSKIWhereas Republicans want to stop it by following the rule of law. That's the difference. And it's so funny, because you could see it in the conventions at -- in Cleveland there was a huge presence of uniformed police everywhere. They were very friendly, they were multi-generational, they were -- you could tell they were volunteers. People were taking pictures of them and selfies and -- but there was this feeling that there was law and order and public safety. And in Philadelphia, it was just the opposite. This is very interesting.

  • 10:35:49

    KRIKORIANCecilia, I think the caller points to something that's important here that I think drives a lot of the political debate on this...

  • 10:35:56


  • 10:35:56

    KRIKORIAN...that there really is a trust gap on immigration. That the promises that the government has made for 30 years now have just not been met. And this really stems from the 1986 amnesty, 30 years ago, still the shadow of it is on us now. Because the premise of that bill was that we would legalize the illegal immigrants who were here, who had been here for a while -- so it was about 3 million people got amnesty -- in exchange for promises to enforce the law down the road so that we wouldn't have more illegal immigrants. Well, again...

  • 10:36:32

    ORCHOWSKIIt made it -- the first time, it made it illegal to work without a permit. That had never been in the lobby

  • 10:36:39

    KRIKORIANRight. But the -- so what happened is, the amnesty came first. Everybody got legal status. They eventually got green cards. The enforcement didn't happen. And so that is a kind of bait and switch. And so the fear is -- and frankly, all of the immigration proposals that have been brought up by Congress, whether under the Bush administration or under Obama, have been the same kind of bait and switch. The legalization happens upfront, the promises of enforcement are for down the road. And frankly, the political class doesn't have any credibility that they'll follow through.

  • 10:37:11

    ORCHOWSKIAnd everything changed in -- after 9/11. Before, we were -- we really didn't take illegal immigration very seriously. It's only a misdemeanor. Now, in most countries, it's a felony.

  • 10:37:24

    KANGThanks, Peggy.

  • 10:37:24

    ORCHOWSKIBut after 9/11, it's become an issue of national security for Republicans. And again, you get to this law and order thing.

  • 10:37:32

    KANGAnd coming up, we'll take more of your calls and questions. Please stay tuned.

  • 10:40:02

    KANGWelcome back. I'm Cecilia Kang of the New York Times sitting in for Diane Rehm. I'm joined by Mark Krikorian, the Executive Director for the Center for Immigration Studies. Peggy Sands Orchowski, the Congressional Reporter for Hispanic Outlook Magazine. Beth Reinhard, National Politics Reporter for the Wall Street Journal. And by phone, Angela Kelley, the Executive Director for the Center for American Progress Action Fund. A lot of numbers were floated around last night in Donald Trump's speech.

  • 10:40:29

    KANGCan -- can, Beth, can you just -- Beth or Peggy, can you just make clear actually how many undocumented immigrants are in the US. Trump seemed to float a lot of different numbers.

  • 10:40:40

    REINHARDWell, I think 11 million is pretty much the consensus number and Trump, you know, wanted to leave out, you know, lead us to the possibility there could be more. Well, certainly, there could be. But I think 11 million is, is…

  • 10:40:55


  • 10:40:56 the right number.

  • 10:40:57

    ORCHOWSKIYeah, I think that's right.

  • 10:40:58

    REINHARDThe other numbers that he threw out a lot, that I think are, you know, worthy of debate when our -- the numbers that he used with regards to crime -- these very strong links he's made between illegal immigrants and crime and, you know, really, the data's very difficult to parse on that. Because, you know, when people are arrested, they're identified by their race, by their sex, but they are not classified by the FBI as legal or illegal. And so, there have been studies done. There's been -- there is some data out there.

  • 10:41:31

    REINHARDBut, you know, Trump has used statistics that would lead people to believe, hearing that speech, that if only we got rid of the illegal immigrants, there would no longer be any crime in this country.

  • 10:41:42

    KANGYeah, there's a direct link that he makes. And in fact, last night, some of the more memorable parts of the speech were what he called the personal anecdotes from angel moms, I think is what he called them.

  • 10:41:55


  • 10:41:55

    KRIKORIANRight. Yeah.

  • 10:41:56

    REINHARDI've interviewed these families, and their stories are heartbreaking. But the question is...

  • 10:42:00

    KANGAnd tell us who they are, I'm sorry.

  • 10:42:01

    REINHARD...well, for example, a woman who spoke last night, Maryanne Mendoza, her son was a police officer who was killed. Many of these folks were -- their children were killed in car accidents. And in some cases by gang members and, you know, it's all very sad. The question is, how do you go from that story to saying that illegal immigrants cause crime.

  • 10:42:24


  • 10:42:24

    KRIKORIANBut you know, the important question here is -- I mean, Beth is right. The illegal immigrants aren't necessarily causing crime at rates higher than others. I mean, to the degree that impression is given, that is incorrect. But, the question here is, should people who not only are here illegally but actually have been in the custody of the government, and then released, should their subsequent crimes be on the head of the government? And I've gotta say, immigration policy is responsible for crimes of people who shouldn't be here, who are in custody and then let go.

  • 10:42:57

    KANGAngie, jump in here real fast, please.

  • 10:42:59

    KELLEYYeah, I mean look, he is again, the gross exaggeration of numbers where he's coming up with two million. No one has any idea. And it's not as if immigrants get somehow a free pass and that they're not prosecuted and don't have to serve jail time for any crimes that they commit. Of course they have to. And those stories of moms who've lost their children are heartbreaking. I mean, as a mother of two daughters, I, I, I can't imagine the pain that they're going through.

  • 10:43:26

    KELLEYBut I don't think that it's right to try to connect the pain and the sorrow that those mothers are feeling with a broad brush of an exaggerated number of immigrants that have committed crimes. I mean, absolutely, those folks should be prosecuted, and then they should be put up for removal. They should be deported. There's -- I don't think anybody...

  • 10:43:46

    KRIKORIANThey never should have been here in the first place, Angie.

  • 10:43:49

    KELLEY...but, but, but what -- that's right, and when you look at enforcement, I mean, I think that the good news, from the perspective of those who like enforcement, is that we're spending 18 billion dollars a year on immigration enforcement. The budget for DHS is bigger than for FBI, the DEA, the secret service, US Marshalls, and the ATF. So we're already putting a lot of money into enforcement.

  • 10:44:13

    KANGWe do want to get to some more of the calls -- let me get a caller in though, first, right, from Theresa from Cleveland, Ohio, has -- is a Republican and she has some thoughts.

  • 10:44:23

    THERESAYeah, I thank you for taking my call, buy the way. I guess I'm -- I'll be honest with you, I'm voting Democrat and it's all Democrat this year, which is new for me. I've never voted Democrat in my whole entire life, but Donald Trump, of course, has something to do with it. But also, it's the Republicans, partially -- it's partially, the Republicans' stance on immigration. I feel like we're devaluing human beings. We don't act like they have no worth.

  • 10:44:51

    THERESAAnd I was especially bothered when Paul Ryan did his little talk on CNN and gave the impression that, you know, you send these people out of the country and what we're going to allow back in are the people who have these job skills that we want. So like, maybe, you know, somebody who's highly educated. To me, that's not America. America is supposed to be about, you know, bringing in the poor, the wretched, everything. And that's, I guess, because I work at a pediatric nurse.

  • 10:45:18

    THERESAI deal with a lot of people from other countries who came here from horrendous situations. And I love spending time with these people. They are grateful for what they have and I just cannot understand this lack of humanity that we have here.

  • 10:45:34

    KANGLack of empathy that you're hearing. Let me just -- go ahead, Peggy.

  • 10:45:39

    ORCHOWSKIThroughout our history, and from the very beginning as a colony, we welcomed immigrants for work. Immigration's about jobs, about work. Immigrants come here to work and nation states want immigrants, because they add to their prosperity by being good workers. And, you know, we're a capitalist country. We like cheap labor. We make profits by having as unregulated labor as possible. But millions of people want to come to the United States. So you have to have immigration laws to choose.

  • 10:46:17

    ORCHOWSKIAnd so, I think one way for helping understand -- resolve this conflict is to think of the, of a popular country like the United States. Like a very popular public college where thousands of people qualify to get into that college, but the college, to keep its quality, can't accept everyone. So they have admissions policies. And when people don't get in, they don't storm the gates of the university. They don't come into the dorms, they don't take the classes and demand a degree.

  • 10:46:49

    ORCHOWSKIIf you don't get in, if you're not chosen, then you go elsewhere. And those admission policies change, so I think if we think of it that way, that immigration laws are like the admissions policies to our country, they change with the time. They -- and they're regulated by a Congress that is of a representative government. And they're a constant work in progress. But don't say that our country was always here for the -- for the poor and the hungry. It certainly wasn't.

  • 10:47:20

    ORCHOWSKIAnd that poem on the Statue of Liberty was really directed towards Eastern European Jews, that's what Elizabeth Lazarus' main focus was. She wasn't talking about Africans and Latinos and stuff, so...

  • 10:47:34

    KANGBeth, you want to jump in?

  • 10:47:35

    REINHARDWell, I was just going to note that, you know, the caller pointed out she's a Republican who is not supporting the Republican nominee, and that, you know, gets to what are the political repercussions of Donald Trump's speech. What did he accomplish politically? You know, I think he certainly reassured his loyal supporters that he is, you know, on their side and not softening. Did he bring in anyone new last night? I'm not sure. I mean, if you looked at the reaction on social media, you saw white nationalists praising the speech.

  • 10:48:05

    REINHARDSome moderate Republicans saying how disappointed they were, and I think that the Trump campaign would argue that they are reaching out to blacks and Hispanics, but they're doing so by saying the illegal immigrants are taking your jobs and so it's an interesting way of, of, of, of approaching minority outreach. And it looks like that's the calculation he's made, that he's going to continue to cultivate his base of white supporters and make this attempt, which I'm skeptical of, honestly, to reach out to blacks and Hispanics with an anti-immigration message.

  • 10:48:44

    KRIKORIANWell, whether Beth is right or wrong about the politics of it, there's simply no question. That the first people who suffer from immigration are earlier immigrants, who are disproportionately Hispanic, and black American workers who are disproportionately in less skilled jobs. So, whether politically that works or not is an open question. But whether, as a matter of policy, immigration hurts less skilled workers, legal and illegal immigration, that's really not open to much question.

  • 10:49:13

    ORCHOWSKIIt's very strange that Republicans are the ones that are talking about protecting American jobs and especially the jobs of African Americans. And all you have to do is look at here in Washington, D.C. where 15 years ago, all the construction jobs, they were done by African Americans. And I'm not talking about ditch digging. I'm talking lathing and bricklaying and all that. Now, it's all Hispanic. And all you have to do is look at the unemployment numbers. As of today, white Caucasians have a 4.6 percent unemployment rate.

  • 10:49:44

    ORCHOWSKIAmericans overall, it's a 5.3 unemployment rate. Blacks are 9.6 unemployment rate. And Hispanics a 6.6 unemployment rate. And among those include millions of people working here illegally.

  • 10:49:58

    KANGAngie, do the earlier immigrants, are they the ones who suffer the most?

  • 10:50:02

    KELLEYI mean, I think what's suffering is the American public and having to hear Donald Trump duck really important issues about what do we do for people who are struggling. And what do we do to increase wages. And how, you know, how do we create a society where people are, by and large, seeing a brighter future? And so, he's trying to take what are very big important economic questions and put them on the backs of undocumented immigrants. And say, see, it's their fault.

  • 10:50:34

    KELLEYAnd so, I'm not hearing any particularly acute or forward looking economic policy from him. I am only hearing that he wants to deport people and blame them and paint them as criminals and paint them as job takers. And I think what would make a whole lot more sense is if you look actually back at what Congress has been able to pass in the Senate in 2013 where you had a comprehensive bill. Where Democrats and Republicans put the D's and the R's next to their names aside.

  • 10:51:04

    KELLEYAnd they passed legislation that really did get at fixing a broken immigration system, by dealing sensibly with the undocumented by creating legal pathways for people to come so that we know who is coming. They come with a visa, not with a smuggler. And that you have sensible enforcement. None of that is in the conversation that Donald Trump is putting forward except enforcement on steroids.

  • 10:51:29

    KANGThat was Angie, by phone. Angie Kelley, by phone, from the Center for American Progress. We have an email from Mark in Charlotte. He says, why does it make sense to restrict an immigrant who holds an anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-anything stance when it's perfectly legal for a natural born citizen to have the exact same stance?

  • 10:51:47

    KRIKORIANThat's a good -- that's a good question. And the fact is that Americans are covered by the First Amendment. Foreigners living abroad are not covered by the First Amendment and there's no reason that we should be admitting more people into our country, people who are not members of our country, who are, people who live abroad who hate our values and are not attached to the basic principles of our Constitutional government. If we have people in our country who believe that kind of nonsense, that's something we're going to have to deal with. Foreigners who believe that should not be allowed in.

  • 10:52:20

    KANGI'm Cecilia Kang. You're listening to The Diane Rehm Show. We have, actually, a lot of callers from further, close to the southern border. Antony -- Anthony from San Antonio, Texas. Hi, you're on the air.

  • 10:52:36

    ANTHONYGood morning. How are you all doing today?

  • 10:52:38

    KANGGood morning. Well thank you. What, what...

  • 10:52:41

    ANTHONYYeah, yeah, I'm sorry.

  • 10:52:43

    KANGOh, what's your comment or your question?

  • 10:52:45

    ANTHONYMy comment is number one, I definitely agree with Angela Kelley that Mr. Trump's comments are really absurd. I mean, it's madness from my perspective. And then, I know, you know, the gentleman brought up the point that hey, it's unrealistic that Trump is talking about building this wall and that nobody expects it. I mean, but even if that is true, then why even say that in the first place? So, the idea of stirring up people because of their fears using hatred to try to become President, my perspective, this is very much like Adolph Hitler.

  • 10:53:27

    ANTHONYLet's demonize a group so that I can get into office and run my program. So, that's my perspective on Mr. Trump is that uh...

  • 10:53:36

    KANGThanks, Anthony for your call from San Antonio, Texas. And we also have Elaine from Fort Worth, Texas. Hi Elaine. You're on the air.

  • 10:53:43

    ANTHONY...why even say that in the first place? The idea of stirring up people because...

  • 10:53:52

    KANGHi Elaine. Can you turn your radio down and we can hear your question or your comment. Elaine has hung up. Let's go to Tony, still down south, in Houston, Texas. Hi Tony, you're on the air.

  • 10:54:03

    TONYHi, thank you so much. I think first, Peggy needs to change the name of her publication from Hispanic Outlook to Xenophobic Outlook. I'm stunned that she's trying to create a wedge between documented Latinos, undocumented Latinos and African Americans. I ain't even got time to deal with that. But my original question is I'd like her to clarify her misrepresentation when she says that foreign students who overstay their student visa, undocumented, then get jobs that Americans want, not the back breaking jobs.

  • 10:54:31

    TONYThat makes no sense because they're then undocumented. So if they do get hired, I don't care if they're Pulitzer Prize winning material, they're being hired illegally by an American citizen. So, I don't know if Trump is going to come up with an amnesty for all those illegal Americans hiring all these undocumented workers, but she's misrepresenting the truth.

  • 10:54:48

    KANGPeggy, do you want to respond to that?

  • 10:54:51

    ORCHOWSKII don't know where you get that. The focus of our magazine is the incredible diversity of Hispanics and we honor that very much. So, you know, talking that it's xenophobic. But what I'm saying is foreign students, and you have to understand the visa they have, not only long periods of time that they're allowed to study and get degrees, but also to stay on on practical training. And many of them have gotten jobs during that period. And it's fairly easy to stay on and yes, we're not enforcing the laws of employers hiring people who are no longer legally in the country.

  • 10:55:36

    ORCHOWSKIIt's just not checked. It's one of those laws that just aren't very enforced. And a lot of people just don't want to, so, you know...

  • 10:55:43

    KRIKORIANAnd look, that's one of the reasons that all the proposals to fix immigration, whether it's Trump's or Chuck Schumer's include the use of the e-verify systems. Online systems so that when an employer hires somebody, they can check whether they're telling them the truth about who they are and all that stuff. It exists now, it works fine. We've used it for years at my think tank, but it's not mandatory for all employers, and that is frankly job one before anything else, before a wall, before any of that stuff that has to be done.

  • 10:56:12's a voluntary system at this point.

  • 10:56:14


  • 10:56:15

    KANGWe did get an email from Andrea saying the Statue of Liberty reads in part, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. Send these, the homeless tempest tossed to me. And yet, last night, Mr. Trump spoke about choosing our immigrants based upon merit, skill and proficiency. A stark contrast to the sonnet imposed on the statue declaring values written in a time when Trump supporters might consider America once great.

  • 10:56:40

    KANGWe have run out of time on such a broad topic of interests of issues and we could have gone for so much more. I am Cecilia Kang of the New York Times sitting in, sitting in for Diane Rehm. Thanks for listening.

Related Links

Topics + Tags


comments powered by Disqus
Most Recent Shows