Trump driving migrant debate among GOP field
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The ideas once languished at the edge of Republican politics, confined to think tanks and no-hope bills on Capitol Hill. To solve the problem of illegal immigration, truly drastic measures were necessary: Deport the undocumented en masse. Seize the money they try to send home. Deny citizenship to their U.S.-born children.
Now, all of those ideas have been embraced by Donald Trump, the front-runner in the Republican presidential race, who has followed up weeks of doomsaying about illegal immigrants with a call for an unprecedented crackdown.
On Monday, Trump’s hard turn was already influencing the rest of the GOP field. In Iowa, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also began to call for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, echoing a longtime Trump demand. Walker said the separation barrier between Israel and the Palestinian territories is proof that the concept could work here.
Walker also seemed to echo Trump by questioning “birthright citizenship,” the constitutional provision that grants citizenship to anyone born in this country. After a reporter asked if birthright citizenship should be ended, Walker said: “I think that’s something we should — yeah, absolutely, going forward.”
But — in a sign of how quickly Trump has changed the terms of this race — Walker had difficulty clearly articulating where exactly he stands on the issue, wanting to steal some of Trump’s momentum but not quite sure to what extent. He went on to say that if the United States enforces the laws it already has, that alone might take care of the problem.
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