We all know by now that Donald Trump likes to inflate things: the unemployment rate, his popularity among women and minorities, the size of his, uh, hands… Now one of his main surrogates is inflating the numbers on immigration, saying that there may be more undocumented immigrants in the country than we know about, and that would cause problems for Trump’s deportation plan.
Katrina Pierson appeared on CNN’s New Day on September 6 where she discussed Trump’s shifting proposals on deportation of “illegals.” A week ago the candidate was saying that everyone who is in the U.S. illegally will have to return to their home countries and apply to come back legally. But on Labor Day, Trump seemed to soften that stance, hinting that there might be a path to citizenship for some immigrants without the requirement that they leave the country.
Deporting all of the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has been a cornerstone of Trump’s campaign, and one of the most popular policy proposals with his largely white, nativist base. But rational analysts have said that deporting that many people would be a daunting, almost impossible task unless we turn the country into something of a police state. But Donald Trump never fails at anything (just ask him), so how do you cover for his inability to round up and deport all undocumented immigrants, like he promised? Simple, you just claim there are more undocumented immigrants than there actually are.
Host Alysin Camerota plays clips of Trump’s seemingly contradictory statements about deporting immigrants and asks Pierson to explain. Pierson replies that Trump’s position has not changed, saying that he still believes if you are here illegally you should “return to your home country and enter legally.”
But then Pierson hedges, suggesting that Trump may not be able to remove all of the undocumented immigrants because there may be many more of them than we are aware of. She tells Camerota,
“We are continuously hearing that there’s not 11 million people, there could be 20 million, there could be 30 million… This is important because Mr. Trump can’t promise to deport every single illegal alien in the country if there’s 30 million.”
Trump should have never said he could deport 11 million people, either. But he did, and there are a lot of his rabid supporters who won’t accept any softening of that position. Now it looks like Trump is preparing to vastly overstate the number of undocumented immigrants so he can claim it will be impossible to get them all, and he can then begin talking about other strategies to deal with them. Will his fans buy the new immigration product he seems prepared to start selling? This could get very interesting.
Here are Pierson’s remarks, via CNN:
— New Day (@NewDay) September 6, 2016
Featured image via CNN screen capture